Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has been a long time coming—nine years to be exact. The original is up there with my all-time favorite comedies, and before seeing the sequel, I wisely noted that I didn’t expect it to be a better movie. If it even came close to the quality of the first, it would be a win in my book. So, is it? Well, that depends on just how much insanity you can take before giving up and calling it a day.
There’s a plot to Anchorman 2, but it doesn’t really matter. The most brilliant piece of it is when Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) basically invents bad news reporting on purpose out of necessity. As part of a new-fangled 24-hour news channel, Burgundy is forced to make up for getting the 2 am slot by color-commentating car chases, for example. At that hour, the news had better be interesting, or nobody will watch. If I had to pick somebody to start the awful trend of bad-to-mediocre news coverage, it would only be fitting for it to be Ron Burgundy, probably the worst newscaster to ever sit in an anchor chair.
Okay, so, plot stuff aside, the real draw here is the sheer amount of craziness that infects just about every scene of Anchorman 2. It would do you a great injustice to spoil any of the surprises here, so the best I can do is to say that they went all-out this time around. If you loved Brick, then brace yourself for a whole lot more of him. In fact, there’s more of everything, including bizarre (but awesome) cameos during the you-knew-it-was-coming-eventually news team brawl. This isn’t to say that Anchorman 2 is just more of the same; there are definitely beats that get hit for fans of the original, but when I say crazy stuff happens, I’m talking about left field situations that just couldn’t be predicted. Again, I won’t spoil them. I suppose, though, that the very insane bits I’m cryptically lauding could be what push some viewers over the edge. If you value a well-nurtured narrative over whatever makes you laugh, then you might be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you don’t mind the occasional comedy that wears its identity as a bunch of skits thrown together to form a feature film like a badge of honor, then Anchorman 2 is for you.
When I say it’s basically a bunch of skits thrown together, I somehow mean that as a compliment. It’s not hard to notice the rhythm of Anchorman 2: scene starts with a setup, goes on for a minute or so, the jokes hit, end scene. I’m sure I could come up with a list of movies that don’t play at all because of the same exact thing, but for whatever reason, the format works for me here. Once I look back on Anchorman 2 after having seen it more than once, maybe I’ll start to be irritated by its obvious skit nature or the fact that the filmmakers took the ball, ran with it, dunked it in Kool-aid, and tried to make everyone else revel in absurdity, but for the time being, I’m on board. At the end of the day, I laughed my ass off, even though it’s a bit slow to start. But once everyone gets on board the crazy train, it never really slows down.
So, my advice to you? Just let it happen. Allow the smooth jazz flute of Ron Burgundy to envelope you like a musky, cigar-lit back room, and just roll with it. If you don’t, then we’ll simply have to agree to disagree.
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