Review by Alec R. Lee
Nine years later and we get treated to more of the same, which is what the fans wanted, right?
The long awaited sequel to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy has finally hit theaters and so far has made a rather lukewarm response with audiences. There is no doubt that die hard fans of the original will love this film, but for casual fans of Will Ferrell, some might be left wanting. The endless promotion material kept promising that this film will be bigger than the original in every considerable way. Every single commercial featured a narrator comparing Burgundy to Jesus and how this film would sweep the world off its feet. I highly doubt if anyone ever believed those advertisements for a second (if you did, you’re a fool, just getting that out). Going into this film, I had medium expectations because I expected for this film to reuse jokes from the first film and have some laughs but ultimately be a rather forgettable experience altogether. And you know what? I was right.
The movie starts out sometime around where the first film ended. Ron and Veronica are married and are twin anchors for the WBC. Ron gets fired by his boss but then gets a second chance. The world’s first 24 hour news network is being established and Ron is wanted for the lineup. To make this work, Ron recruits his old team back and has to face several obstacles while manning his post such as a rival anchor and dealing with the fact that his boss is an African American woman (uncommon in the 70s, mind you). The time that Ron spends clawing his way back to the top of the network is a very enjoyable experience as it provides the funniest laughs in the film. Some common news cliches are poked fun at because broadcasting a live car chase was unheard of back in that time period so it was considered entertaining. There is also a swath of celebrity cameos, some of which include Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Kanye West, Kirsten Dunst, Sacha Baron Cohen, and many, many more. Unfortunately, for every good joke this movie has, there is a bad one to complement it. And by bad I mean just awkward, kind of like Family Guy level humor, which is not a good thing. There are some jokes that are just built up to be the most uproarious zingers on the planet and they end up with the audience cringing. Being a country of people with low taste, most of the audience was laughing at the jokes while I was rolling my eyes. This is not a film for the intelligent mind.
The cast does their jobs well in this case. Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy is like seeing an old friend again. You know his style of humor, his clothing fashion and it all fits wonderfully. At least he was given the best jokes of the movie. Paul Rudd and David Koechner play their parts of Brian and Champ (respectively) well as they also waste no time in chewing on the material they’ve been given. In Champ’s case, he actually did not do much as the movie went on and actually felt more and more unnecessary to the audience. Did they forget to give him more material, or did they just have too much content that they had to sacrifice character development? Who received a lot of development, though, is Steve Carell’s Brick. Brick is my personal favorite character and he also gets a bunch of good jokes and, shocker, a girlfriend (played by Kristen Wiig). James Marsden as Ron’s new rival really chews the scenery and creates a great source of tension for Ferrell’s character (that has a funny conclusion). Meagan Good as Ron’s African American boss is a welcome change, shifting the tone of sexism in the workplace to racism in the workplace. But Good’s character never comes across any racism that is particularly offensive, most of it is done for laughs and it’s all rather safe. Of course, there are some people that will be offended but that’s a risk you might have to chance.
Overall, I did enjoy most of the movie. The jokes that were funny were rather funny and I liked seeing the character of Ron Burgundy on the big screen again. The climax of the film is a throwback to a scene from the first movie and it does deliver the dramatic punch (although there were several times where the “nostalgia” threatened to ruin the moment by adding too much of it). However, there are a smattering of jokes that fall flat on their faces and for a film that kept on inflating itself to lofty heights in terms of entertainment, it misses its mark badly. If you’re a fan of the first film, go ahead and see it, it’s nothing that you haven’t seen before. You’ll enjoy it while watching it, but forget about it in half an hour. For casual fans, it’s a hit or miss situation. If you’re not a fan of stupid humor and unwilling to part with two hours of your life unless you see the next “Blazing Saddles,” then stay away from this film. If you don’t care about such things, go and watch this film and be entertained. Stay classy, all of you.
Final Score: 65/100