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Review: 'Anchorman 2' gives in to complete silliness in return

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For those who enjoyed Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, they will have little problem returning to form to partake of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues which opens Wednesday (Dec. 18).

In fact, some of those will find it so easy that the first time Will Ferrell opens his mouth as obnoxious, annoying newsman Ron Burgundy, they’ll break out in unnecessary, uproarious laughter on cue.

That’s the effect that Burgundy’s sophomoric humor has on many. The rest of us? Meh. It’s there. It’s silly. It’s mindless. It’s not worth the 10 bucks it will cost to get into an evening screening.

That’s not to say Anchorman 2 has nothing to offer. In fact, beneath the silly lies the sly but the script, written by Ferrell with director Adam McKay, is directed squarely at the audience that the filmmakers knew craved a sequel to its 8-year-old predecessor.

That’s too bad because McKay and Ferrell are onto something here.

Life’s become difficult for Burgundy and his now wife, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). They had the idyllic life in New York City co-anchoring the weekend news until the impending retirement of the main anchor (played with silly glee by Harrison Ford) decides he’s giving up the chair. Burgundy assumes it’s his. Instead it’s given to Veronica, a move that is far too much of a blow to Burgundy’s ego, shattering it and his marriage.

He flees back to San Diego until a TV producer, Freddie (Dylan Baker) tracks him down for a spot on the first 24/7 cable news network. Of course Burgundy assumes it’s a joke, but he’s soon hunting down his former news team Brick (Steve Carell), Brian (Paul Rudd) and Champ (David Koechner) and they bring their particular brand of weird news coverage to the nation – during the 2-5 a.m. shift, one that Burgundy views as an insult.

Rather than rest on the bush of thorns given to him, he makes a move that gets him moved into the prime-time chair, much to the chagrin of his primary rival Jack Lime (James Marsden). That move?

He pollutes the airwaves with stories about patriotism, car chases, cute animals and other assorted piffle. America, to the shock of no one at Fox News, eats it up and Burgundy’s back on top. His fight will be how to stay there, however.

That’s where Anchorman 2 goes astray. It’s the observations about the state of news reporting in America from making fun of its audience to pointed jabs at all news entities being little more than corporate enablers.
When it hits, it hits in a big way. But when it drowns in silliness, the whole film sinks with it.

Burgundy’s co-horts in this exercise are all in and that certainly helps, but McKay and Ferrell trade sly for silly and ultimately the joke’s on the audience.

Movie: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Will Ferrell, Steven Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, James Marsden, Christina Applegate
Studio: Paramount
Rated: PG-13 (for crude and sexual content, drug use, language and comic violence.)
Running time: 119 minutes
George’s rating: 3-of-5 stars
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com

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