In many cases, needless sequels and additions to franchises are frowned upon in Hollywood, as the cynics among us assume that the justification lies in that already established audience guarantees filmmakers the numbers at the box office, resulting in an easy pay-check. However there are very few fans of Adam McKay’s original Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) who are against the eagerly anticipated sequel. Why? Because we get to spend more time in the crude, offensive, moustache-wielding world of Burgundy himself – and that can only be a good thing right?
Will Ferrell returns in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, where we see Burgundy enjoying life alongside his wife and colleague, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). However as we leave the 70s behind, Burgundy refuses to do the same with his morals, and the chronic misogynist eventually finds himself made redundant. Leaving his wife, he decides to reunite the old team of Champ Kind (David Koechner), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), to make the move to the Big Apple and land a job at the very first 24 hour news channel. However when pitting himself against the younger, more beguiling news anchor Jack Lime (James Marsden), he will do whatever he sees fit to gain more ratings, as he begins dumbing down the news – much to the anguish of his former partner.
With a scattergun approach to one-liners, pelting them at the audience from start to finish, there’s an inevitability many of them will come off – and when they do, we’re treated to some sidesplittingly hilarious moments. Given we know all about Burgundy and his old-fashioned ways and erratic nature, we don’t require any introduction as such, as from the word go everything the man says and does turns to comedy gold. However it’s the very fact that McKay and co-writer Ferrell know of the immense fan base which works as the film’s very undoing, because at times the humour feels somewhat contrived. The original deservedly attained a cult following – but managed to do so by accident. Whereas this sequel knows exactly what worked the first time around, and plays too heavily on that – not quite managing to capture the ingenuity of the original piece.
Though bearing a satirical edge – in how the news can deviate away from solemnity and rely too heavily on images of cute animals or high-speed car chases to draw in the punters – regrettably Anchorman 2 signals a distinct running out of ideas, with a variety of very elementary jokes and cheap gags to gain easy laughs. Most frustrating of all are the superfluous cameo roles – akin to more recent episodes of The Simpsons – it is almost as if the filmmakers are merely showing off how many celebrity friends they have.
It is probably best if the Legend ends here then.