The legend of Ron Burgundy, news reader extraordinaire, lives on in ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES, a laugh-out-loud follow-up to the 2004 cult comedy. Both films owe much of their success to the pooled improv talent of Will Ferrell (Ron Burgundy), Steve Carell (Brick Tamland), Paul Rudd (Brian Fantana) and David Koechner. A great deal of the funnies in this new film would seem to be improvised because, basically, you just can’t write this kind of stuff. It is pure random genius.
That said, ANCHORMAN 2 does appear to be trying harder to be funny than its predecessor, but as it succeeds, you can’t hold that against it. Steve Carell battles hard for legendary status for Brick in his own right and he certainly registers highly on the laugh-o-meter. And this time he is not such a tragic sad case as he is in love, having found a kindred spirit in Chani (Kristen Wiig). Theirs is a match made in madness heaven. And Baxter is back on fine form, truly a little Buddha all covered in hair.
The jokes come thick and fast from all sides and, as might be expected from an ANCHORMAN film, there are no holds barred. African Americans and the blind are in for a particularly tough time as the butts of jokes, but Ron and company only cross the line into offensive territory on a couple of occasions (other more sensitive souls may disagree on this point). In particular the dinner party scene where Ron meets the parents in his new cross-racial relationship was where the film hit below the belt, although this was a different version of the same scene shown in trailers, so perhaps there has already been some tinkering with it.
Just when you think you’ve seen everything, they put jazz flute on ice
The second film also follows the same narrative pattern as the first, with all the action building up to the crescendo of another news crew on news crew fight scene. One dreads to think what the wage bill was for these ten minutes of footage, with cameo roles for a whole host of big names, but it’s a corker.
ANCHORMAN 2 generally matches ANCHORMAN joke for joke. “I love lamp” becomes “I’m not dead” and “You ate a whole wheel of cheese” is replaced by “you drank half a bottle of ketchup.” But beyond some future classic lines, ANCHORMAN 2 maybe has a little more to give at this time of giving. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, they put jazz flute on ice.
Behind the laughs, there is poignant thread carrying messages about the importance of friendship and work-life balance, along with the questionable integrity of 24-hour news and conglomerate media owners. So if you need more than just funny from a film, there is something here for you. But there is more than enough funny to keep most people occupied for two hours.
This has been Alison Hicks reporting for TAKE ONE. You stay classy, Cambridge.