5 Things I Liked (& Didn’t) About ‘Anchorman 2’17.12.13 # Review # 8 Comments
With the 70s behind him, San Diego’s top rated newsman, Ron Burgundy, returns to take New York’s first 24-hour news channel by storm. The Legend Continues in Anchorman 2.
THE GOOD NEWS:
(1) They made an Anchorman sequel
By the beard of Zeus, they made an ANCHORMAN sequel!
(2) It’s a decent sequel
The trouble with sequels in general is that you don’t want to see the first movie rehashed, but you do want to see a movie that’s as good as the one you fell in love with in the first place. With the same characters, the same basic setup, and maybe some callbacks to the original movie’s memorable scenes. So, naturally, there’s a fine line between a good sequel and a redundant retread – and that might make some people a little apprehensive about Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. I mean, the first Anchorman was great, but how much more Ron Burgundy does the world need? Mightn’t the joke have worn thin? Anchorman 2 answers those questions: the world needs several large helpings of Ron Burgundy. The joke might have worn a LITTLE thin – but it’s totally worth seeing a dead horse get beaten once or twice if it also comes back to life for ninety minutes.
(3) It’d be decent even if it wasn’t a sequel
The first Anchorman created an iconic, absurdly arrogant, absurdly masculine character in Ron Burgundy, and challenged him professionally and personally by introducing Veronica Corningstone, the object of his affections and his rival, his female foil. Anchorman, in between the slapstick and the more general craziness, was about how the world was changing and how hilarious it could be to witness someone who wasn’t equipped to change with it. Anchorman 2 turns that on its head. Ron Burgundy is still very much the same character, but he isn’t the subject being examined in Anchorman 2, the world around him is. Maybe Ron Burgundy isn’t as out of place in this world as we might have thought. It isn’t a rehash, and that’s welcome.
(4) There’s a shark in it
Sharks are cool.
(5) It’s actually ABOUT something
Anchorman 2 turns a critical eye towards modern news, sort of like a less po-faced version of what Aaron Sorkin is doing over on HBOs The Newsroom. Infotainment and ratings-whoring is the butt of more jokes than anything else in the entire film. It all begins when Veronica Corningstone is promoted and Ron Burgundy fired. Ron’s ego can’t even begin to take this, and so he ends his relationship with Veronica in the kind of shouty way you might expect and jumps on the dumbest idea he’s ever heard – a 24 hour news channel – in order to claw some of his former glory back, roping in his old team of Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) and Champ Kind (that guy that says “WHAMMY!”). The chemistry between the team is as good as it ever was, and a lot more characters are introduced into the mix.
THE BAD NEWS:
(1) A lot more characters are introduced into the mix
And they’re mostly bad. The tight cast of the original didn’t have a single superfluous character, or at least not one that wasn’t riotous, this movie has its fair share of duds. The kid that plays Ron Burgundy’s son may well be the worst child actor ever. He’s so bad, I’m actually not sure if it’s a joke or not. I asked someone else, they’re sure it’s a joke. I want to think it’s a joke I didn’t get. He’s terrible. There’s some Kramer vs Kramer stuff going on with him, Veronica and Ron. Veronica’s new lover is played by Greg Kinnear, and he’s actually a great addition, as is James Marsden as Jack Lime, the young hotshot newsreader who embarasses Ron. Meagan Goode is just so-so as Ron Burgundy’s new boss, and while Kristin Wiig is fine as Brick’s love interest, the whole subplot feels needless. It’s pretty much there only because Steve Carrell is a star now, so they had to give him his own plotline.
(2) If it’s possible to overdo it with cameos…
You might get cameo fatigue. If that’s a thing. There are quite a lot. This movie literally has a famous rapper at the beginning of the movie, another at the end of the movie, and the biggest movie star on the planet.
(3) Veronica just isn’t as funny this time around
And it’s a real shame, because she was so good in the first film. She has quite a lot less to do here because the plot doesn’t revolve around her in quite the same way, and it starts out looking like she might be sidelined entirely. Fortunately she’s still very much present, but not seeing her interact with the team as much really sucks, and that’s driven home when she faces off with Meagan Good’s character.
(4) There’s a shark in it
JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO GO BACK IN THE WATER
(5) It’s a little self-indulgent
The length of some of the offbeat digressions (the digressions have digressions) is questionable. It’s an awkwardly paced movie at times, and there are at least two instances where it’s almost like another movie has started altogether, but Anchorman 2 is entertaining, absurd and witty in equal measure – a few scenes are instant classics.
AND FINALLY TONIGHT:
Our Grade: B