ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES
Running Time: 119 mins.
Premise: After being fired from his nightly reporting gig, legendary newsman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) moves over to a 24-hour news station called GNN, and brings his whole Channel 4 News Team with him. Ron and Co. spark a late night revolution in news programming, but will this newfound success get to Ron's head?
Behind-the-Scenes: Paramount waited years to greenlight this sequel. Co-writer/Director Adam McKay originally wanted $80-100 million for the budget. Paramount wanted $30 million. Eventually, they settled on $50 million. Cool, whatever gets us more Anchorman, right?
The Good: The cast. Everyone is back, and nearly everyone is a bigger star now, particularly Steve Carell (who plays not-so-bright weatherman, Brick Tamland). As a huge fan of the first Anchorman, it's great to see the gang together again. Ron Burgundy is the best character Ferrell has ever created, and he hasn't lost his touch for finding the sublime, but ridiculous, humor in every scene. Pound for pound, there are more hearty laugh-out-loud moments in Anchorman 2 than in almost every other comedy you'll see this year. The celebrity cameos are fun, and there are a ton of them - impressive ones too, on par with those in the first five minutes of Goldmember. McKay takes just the right amount of clever digs at the cable news networks, which help make the movie "about" something, without ever taking focus away from the comedy. For a big studio comedy, with all that marketing behind it, Anchorman 2 takes chances - it can be awfully weird at times (Ferrell sings a goodbye song to a shark, as his son looks on and cries), but I take that as a good thing. I'd say 60% of the jokes land....
The Bad: ...which means 40% don't. At nearly 2 hours, the movie runs too long (it felt longer than The Hobbit!), and the pacing drags. It could have used some trimming - at least a good 15-20 minutes could have been cut and the movie would probably be the better for it. Some of the characterizations are way too exaggerated this time, especially Brick and Champ, and seem out of line with the original portrayals. Like most comedy sequels, it repeats many of the same jokes and gag formulas of the first film to lesser effect (yes, there's another newscaster battle; yes, it's spectacular; and, no, it's not as good as the first).
Should You See It?: Yes. I'd compare it to the new season of Arrested Development, if that helps. It's fun and clever, and, really, I'm just happy to have more Anchorman in my life, but something feels "off" about it. Anchorman 2 was never going to be as good as the first (that movie is just magical), but it's a solid sequel and fans should enjoy it.
Star Rating: ***1/2 out of 5 stars.
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