Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (15)

Rather than continuing the legend of the beloved mustachioed Ron Burgundy this sequel somewhat takes a dump on it.

Woody Allen once joked that his wife had divorced him on the grounds of “insufficient laughter”, and on that same basis I find myself duly estranged from Ron Burgundy.

If you’re an Anchorman fan you’ll know that this sequel’s evolution has been tortuous, like a vacuous Hollywood relationship it’s been on again, off again and finally on again.

So finally, after several false starts and talk of a Broadway musical, Anchorman 2 arrives as a broad swipe at rolling news, with Burgundy enlisted to front the 24 hour news network GNN, owned by an Australian multimillionaire with Rupert Murdoch’s soul and Richard Branson’s dashing locks.

Burgundy is nothing without his news team and so as per protocol demands a montage scene ensues as he round them up one by one. Luckily they are willing to leave their new lives behind for Poppa Burgundy in a second attempt for stardom.

Having reassembled his old team- including the weatherman Brick (Steve Carrell) whose IQ nine years ago of 48 appears to have subsequently dropped- they move to New York ready to take GNN by storm.

The thought of a 24 hour news network is mocked heavily by the entire industry; even Burgundy thinks it is a ludicrous idea. But as ever he thrives on the adoration of others, and needs the regular pay check if he is going to win back his wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate).

After a fight with GNN’s golden boy newscaster Jack Lime (James Marsden), Burgundy vows to beat his ratings. Not an easy feat considering Burgundy’s team have the 2am to 5am ‘graveyard’ slot.

Burgundy has a rare brainwave: instead of giving people the actual headlines, give them only news they might want to hear, and play to the belief of most Americans that they occupy the greatest country God ever created.

So the news must be patriotic, too, and the sports’ slots must contain endless clips of baseball players slugging home runs and absolutely no soccer. Burgundy signs off every broadcast with: “Don’t just have a great night, have an American night!”

This all proves a huge hit and Burgundy’s live coverage of a random car chase in Milwaukee eclipses his estranged wife’s scoop of an interview with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Even Arafat wants to watch the car chase!

However the news team’s success comes at a cost and not too surprisingly once they hit the big time Burgundy shakes off Brian, Champ and Brick vowing to go solo.

Then it seems as though Adam McKay gave up hope and wrote the next few scenes with all the effort of a man-flu suffering sloth. A string of ill-judged interracial intercourse jokes failed to deliver the intend laughter and instead caused wincing.

The movie goes off on a peculiar tangent involving Ron losing his sight and raising a pet shark. I know this sounds funny, but it was actually quite tiresome.

An excessively large amount of celebrity cameos in the second half signals a loss of creative confidence, with the street fight of the original expanded into a spot-the-star spectacular in which even Kanye West manages to be dull for once.

Whilst the underlying thread is sound (and more satirically substantial than its predecessor), the humour rings hollow. It is as though the members of the original movie’s cast are playing very stoic caricatures of themselves back when they were funny 8 years ago.

New pack member Kristen Wiig raises a few chuckles as Brick’s love interest but it’s never enough to produce a properly hearty guffaw.

I didn’t want to write this review, because I feel like the asshole messenger who has to deliver bad news. To quote the big man himself “I am in a glass case of emotion” and boy am I pissed off. I love Anchorman and adore Will Ferrell’s movies but this movie is poor.

To say I am disappointed by the sequel is an understatement. I feel like yelling “Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I’ve just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story. I need all of you, to stop what you’re doing and listen…Anchorman 2 is a long, hard slog”, to random people in the street in an ironically Burgundy way, pre –sequel of course.

By Ruth Walker
★★☆☆☆

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