Release Date: 12/18/2013
Dir. Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell (Ron Burgundy), Christina Applegate (Veronica Corningstone), Meagan Good (Linda Jackson), Paul Rudd (Brian Fantana), David Koechner (Champ Kind), Steve Carrell (Brick Tamland), James Marsden (Jack Lime), Kristen Wiig (Chani)
My expectations for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues were very low. You have to understand Anchorman was a staple to my young teenage years. I was one of the obsessive quoters capable of acting out numerous scenes with my friends to perfection. In order for Anchorman 2 to live up to my hopes and dreams was a tough battle. I truly didn’t want the sequel to come and stain my wonderful view of the beloved original. I’m going to be completely honest, Anchorman 2 did not live up to the original, but it also didn’t mar the franchise. I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed the movie and genuinely laughed.
Beware spoilers await!
The story picks up ten years in the future. Ron and Veronica are working as anchors in new work, under the main Anchorman, Mack Harken, played by Harrison Ford. With Harken stepping down as anchor, he gives his position to Veronica and fires Ron. Ron being Ron, demands that Veronica makes a choice either her job or him. Flash forward six months and Ron is being fired from working as a Sea World announcer. Luckily for him, an opportunity presents itself to go back to New York with his team to work at a new 24 hour news network.
Back in New York with the gang all together, Ron struggles with being the small man on the totem pole living in the shadow of the charming Jack Lime and working for Linda Jackson. Ron and his team do better than expected shattering ratings in their abysmal time slot, even beating prime time. Now the hotshots of the network, Ron is on top of the world even if he can’t connect with his son. When a tragic accident causes Ron to lose his eyesight, he reunites with Veronica and their son and rekindle their flame as he lives in a lighthouse and raises a shark.
A procedure brings Ron’s sight back and he returns to the Anchor fold. But his time at the lighthouse changed him. He quits on air and heads to his son’s piano recital. Along the way, he encounters anchor teams from around the world until he finally makes it to his son’s recital. The move ends with Brick marrying his on screen flame Chani.
End Plot Overview
Anchorman 2 was funnier than many movies that I’ve seen recently. I’ve already mentioned that it didn’t quite live up to the first film. There were a number of jokes that just didn’t land as they should have. You could tell that the joke was intended to land, but it never connected. Which was unfortunate, especially in the early part of the movie before it really took off and found it’s stride. Nothing is work than the pause in a movie that is left for a joke that just doesn’t work. That happened numerous times in the beginning of the movie. Considering McKay has indicated that they have enough jokes for two quality movies, I’d be interested in seeing some of those other jokes that didn’t quite work.
In a movie like this, the plot is never the most important thing. The plot tends to need to be cohesive and not filled with too many holes. Unfortunately, Anchorman doesn’t have that. Where the first movie had a strong theme of times changing and how Ron and his team react to coping with the changing landscape. This movie didn’t have that strong through line. The film seemed to hit on similar themes of accepting the other, especially when it came to the interactions between Ron and Linda. The film wanted to push Ron and his family, but it wasn’t until the end of the movie that it really felt important.
Up until now, everything might seem to lean to the negative end of the spectrum, but that isn’t the case. By the time the first act ended, the movie really started to find itself. If you just ignored the parts that didn’t make sense, you could make room for some great jokes and moments. Time and time again, I was reminded of how amazing Paul Rudd is and how funny Steve Carrell can be. Unfortunately, none of the moments in this film really stuck with me beyond the end of the film. The jokes made me laugh and that was the end of the story.
Culminating near the end of the film we got one of the best scenes in the film that carried laugh after laugh. I’ll admit when I first saw James Marsden appear with his team standing behind him with axes, I groaned. The anchor fight scene in the first movie was unexpected and that was part of what made it so good. It escalated really fast. This time, it started out as an eye roller and became positively hilarious. It was filled with a star studded cast. Sacha Baron Cohen appearing for BBC News, Kanye West for MTV News, Jim Carrey and Marion Cotillard for Canadian News, Will Smith for ESPN, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for Entertainment Tonight, Liam Neeson for the History Channel (with John C. Reilly as Stonewall Jackson’s ghost and a minotaur), and Wes Mantooth from Channel 9 sticking up for San Diego Anchors. Yes, I just vomited a list of names, but they all added to a constantly escalating scenario that took the scene from exasperating to entertaining. Will it live up to Anchorman’s anchor fight? No, but it was damn hilarious.
Ultimately, Anchorman: The Legend Continues had a haphazard plot that barely managed to hold the film together. At times it just seemed like they created a story just to get to one set up to another. Even with a lackluster plot, Anchorman 2 delivered on the jokes once you got past a slow first act. If you liked the original, you will likely enjoy yourself at this film. However, don’t expect Anchorman as we spend much more time with Ron and less time with the others. So, would I recommend Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues? If you are looking for a good laugh, go check it out, but keep your expectations reasonable.