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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Review

25 Dec

anchorman-2-review-photo-lead-1Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was, and still is, one of the most beloved comedies in recent memory. It spawned a sequel here in 2013, and while understandably, the second movie doesn’t quite capture the magic of the first, it’s still an entertaining ride.

To be honest, this isn’t much of a ‘movie’; McKay and Ferrell seem intent on piling joke after joke and tangential subplot after tangential subplot onto the already bloated proceedings, and the comedy hits more sporadically than it does in the first; for example, when Burgundy visits Linda Jackson’s (Meagan Good) house and starts talking like the stereotypical black person, it’s more cringe-worthy than uncomfortably funny. Speaking of, the whole Linda character isn’t very well-crafted; her character shifts are too broad and strange for my tastes, and her relationship with Ron is more head-scratch worthy than funny; still, Ron’s constant barrage of “Black” is hilarious.

In general, the character work–or what passes for character work in these films–is a bit disappointing, particularly with the usage of Veronica Corningstone, an integral part of the first film. The main antagonist is James Marsden’s Jack Lime/Lame, a one-note character whose foundation is one flimsy punchline and whose poop smells like sandalwood. In addition, the news team itself stumbles a bit and is fairly inconsequential (Fantana gets to show off some condoms, though), and the movie attempts to utilize Brick Tamland a bit too much with his Chani (Kristen Wiig) subplot. He’s probably one of my favorite movie characters of all time, but here, it’s a little broad. Still, he makes me laugh every time he’s on screen–Carell’s facial expressions are priceless, and he’s especially great when he freaks out over a green screen–and that’s what counts, right?

That’s what it all comes down to here. Although the movie is nowhere near the first’s quality, it’s hilarious; the second half of the movie ramps up the insanity notch by notch, starting with an exquisite sequence where a blind Ron Burgundy raises a shark with his son and serenades it off into the waters. It all ends with a variation on the first movie’s News Team fight, one which contains Stonewall Jackson’s ghost, even crazier weapons, and Liam Neeson, Vince Vaughn, Kanye West, Marion Cotillard, Jim Carrey, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Will Smith, among others. Sure, this is the very definition of broad, but I’m a sucker for random insanity, which is why the second half works for me.

Although the movie has its problems, it’s still a great way to spend your time in the theater. Ferrell and McKay understand these characters and are masters at crafting unique people, and it’s a pleasure to see them onscreen. You stay classy, Ron Burgundy.

GRADE: B

OTHER THOUGHTS

-The sequence in which Burgundy finds his news team is excellent; Champ Kind now sells fried bat, chicken of the cave, Fantana organizes video shoots of cats, and Brick is dead. This all culminates in a slow-mo RV crash that causes a bunch of bodily harm, yet at the same time does no damage to anyone.

-“By the hymen of Olivia Newton-John!”

-“Who the hell is Julius Caesar? You know I don’t follow the NBA!”

-“If you’ve got an ass like the North Star, wise men are gonna want to follow it.”

-“I can always guess how many jelly beans are in a jelly bean jar, even if I’m wrong.”

-So, the movie also attempts some satire with the whole GNN thing and Ron’s big speech at the end. I appreciate the effort, but it gets lost in the shuffle.

-One of the things I liked about the first movie was that it was inherently a personal story: Ron Burgundy’s. Here, it’s a personal story plus a bunch of others.

-I wish I could read Brick’s mind. It would probably consist of everything and nothing all at once.

-The after credits scene is nice.

Photo credit: Paramount, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

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