Ron Burgundy is back and he is bringing his whole News Team with him. Ron has moved on from Channel 4 News and is now facing a whole new world and life-changing events.
Director: Adam McKay
Staring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, James Marsden, Meagan Goode
Run Time: 119 Minutes
Release Date: Out Now
Ask many people for their favourite comedy films and you get the usual answers; Life of Brian, Airplane, Dumb and Dumber, Blazing Saddles, the list goes on. But almost always, one of those familiar answers will be Anchorman. The 2004 smash is still as highly-regarded – and just as quoted – as it was when it was first released, and has grown in admiration as the years have passed. So there was understandable trepidation and reluctance when Will Ferrell came out in full Ron Burgundy costume on Conan O’Brien in March 2012 to officially announce the sequel. Most were excited but yet asking the question “Can it better than the first? Can they make number two better than number one?”
Well the answer is no… but they still make a damn fine movie!
This new big-screen outing sees Ron lose his job (courtesy of a by-the-numbers guest spot by Harrison Ford) in favour of his wife Veronica Corningstone and end up at GNN, who are set to launch an ambitious 24-hour news channel. With his new job in place, Ron sets out to reform his famed news team. We get some funny catch-up scenes with Brian Fantana photographing pussy, Champ Kind selling fried “Chickens of the Cave” and Brick apparently dead. At least, until the gang remind Brick that he isn’t in fact deceased. A humourous winnebago scene is unfortunately a little ruined, mostly by the fact that the majority of the scenes are used in the film’s trailers (a problem many films have these days). The plot then moves to GNN’s offices, where we meet the new additions to the cast. Meagan Good’s producer Linda Jackson leads to some cringeworthy attempts at “racial assimilation” by Ron at a family dinner, Kristen Wiig’s simple receptionist is added as a love interest for Brick Tamland, while James Marsden provides an antagonist in Jack Lime, though his role – seemingly set to be a large one at first – quickly fizzles into little more than a running joke over his surname.
It should be looked on as a near miracle that Adam McKay was even able to get all of the stars together at the same time, given the career progression over the last nine years, especially by Carell and Rudd; for these two are now fully-fledged members of Hollywood’s leading men club, no longer simply solid co-stars as they were in 2004. Praise also to those two for seamlessly slipping back into their respective characters .
Anchorman 2‘s shining star of the show though (of course), is Ferrell. It is a joy to watch him immerse himself in the Burgundy character once more and seemed to be enjoying it every step of the way. The chemistry he has with his co-stars hasn’t lost a beat, though there is a sense of regret that those co-stars don’t quite get the same platform that they did previously.
Whereas the first film was of course all about Ron, we also managed to get some insight into his News Team as well; this time round, they are largely relegated to the background, designed purely to add weight to certain scenes that require it. Brick, especially, seems there purely to shout his lines and add a background love story. Champ has very little to do except continue to drop hints over a less-than-platonic love for Ron, while Brian is underplayed. When it is clear that so much work has gone into this script to ensure it is more than just a virtual copy of the first film, it’s a shame that more couldn’t have been done to add some development to characters not named Ron Burgundy.
There are nods to the first film, as you would expect, with a new take on the gang warfare scene. This plays host to possibly the greatest list of cameos ever seen in a movie (I won’t spoil it), some of them you almost wish were full characters in the film and not just one unannounced cameo segment. It gets a little silly as it goes on, but is never boring and delivers countless laughs. Unlike the original, you won’t find as many quotable lines that will likely annoy those around you).
Again, it is clear that McKay and Ferrell have worked hard on this film to deliver a worthy follow-up. And throughout some scenes they do just that. It also runs a little long, clocking it at around two hours. You feel that thirty minutes or so could have been shaved off (and made more deleted scenes for the DVD) to improve the final cut. In the end, no amount of words in a review is going to convince someone to go and see this film. If you loved the first film, you will have booked your ticket for the sequel as soon as it was possible to. If you never quite ‘got’ Anchorman, you may be inclined to wait until this comes to a streaming service or the like.
- Ferrell brings his best as Ron Burgundy and takes you along for the ride
- The star-studded cameo will raise gasps and laughs
- One or two memorable scenes and lines that will stay the course
- Lack of development or worthwhile screen time for Ron’s news team
- Feels a bit too long at two hours
- A very good film destined by hype to be worse than the first film