By Sophie Mahon
Director: Adam McKay; Writers: Adam McKay, Will Ferrell; Starring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate, David Koechner, Fred Willard, Kristen Wiig, James Marsden. 15 cert, 119 min.
Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) graced our screens nearly a decade ago in the first Anchorman movie as a booming newscaster working in 1970s “San Dee-aago”. And as we all know, he was kind of a big deal. I mean, he did after all have many leather-bound books and his apartment smelled of rich mahogany.
It’s several years later in the long-awaited Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and it seems that Ron isn’t quite as popular as he once was. After being fired from his dream job, Mack Harken (Harrison Ford) adds to the blow by promoting his co-anchor and wife Veronica Corningstone-Burgundy (Christina Applegate).
So Ron embarks on some heavy drinking at his new job at Sea World introducing the dolphin show, which results in a little girl in the audience telling him: “Children and animals hate you, Ron Burgundy!” Stuck in a rut, Ron ultimately tries to hang himself from a ceiling light, which breaks and sends him crashing to the floor. Sounds depressing so far, I know, but it’s all very funny – I promise! His luck takes a turn as he is immediately hired by GNN, the first 24 hour rolling news channel, backed by Australian billionaire (Josh Lawson). With a career move set to change his life he tracks down his trusty news team: Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) who is now a kitten photographer, Champ Kind (David Koechner) who is running a fast food restaurant which sells fried bats as chicken, and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) who is reported to have died but is found speaking at his own funeral. Together they head off to the Big Apple to fulfill their new roles which are set to make them a part of TV news history.
Ron is quick to make an arch enemy at GNN in the form of slick, handsome newscaster Jack Lime, played by James Marsden, who will anchor the prime-time spot while Ron and his team are given the ‘graveyard shift’. In a wager that will result in Jack changing his name to Jack Lame, or Ron leaving New York and never presenting the news again, the pair battle it out for the highest ratings.
During an editorial meeting leading up to his GNN debut, Ron queries: "Why do we need to tell the people what they need to hear? Why can't we tell them what they want to hear?" In a desperate bid to win, Ron decides to make his own news in the form of live car chases, overwhelming patriotism and extreme weather conditions; “More graphics!” he demands, in a humorous satire of modern 24 hour news culture. As the team’s ratings soar, they are promoted to the daytime spot and it is not long before other news channels are copying his tactics to attract more viewers at the expense of serious journalism.
The middle of the film moves at a slower pace, delivering less comedic moments than we’d like. However, the third act finds its feet again as the plot takes an absurd twist which sees Ron turn blind and fight his orphaned shark in the sea. Kristen Wiig delivers a very funny performance as GNN’s secretary and Brick’s love interest – a more simple minded version of the man himself. “I like the parts of your face that are covered in skin” she proclaims. As a nervous Brick struggles to understand exactly what a date is, they take an awkward trip to the launderette together. And that’s about as romantic as it gets!
Ferrell and Adam McKay certainly stay true to Anchorman fans throughout the film with the return of many of our favourite jokes, including Brian’s mysterious cabinet, Ron’s seductive saxophone solo and the gory battle of the news teams. Whilst this repetition feels a little like the writers have taken the easy route to get laughs, it is however perfectly executed with the right amount of new material versus old references. The news team battle, previously known for its cameos, surprises us with some fantastic appearances including Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Tina Fey and Kanye West who represents the new MTV channel. More and more channels show up for the fight including Liam Neeson who represents the BBC, which humorously depicts how the news market becomes saturated so quickly.
The sequel may not be the most consistent of comedies but you definitely won’t be disappointed as Ferrell & McKay deliver some classic Anchorman silliness throughout and a more absurd plot than ever before.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues hits all UK cinemas December 18 2013!
See the trailer below: