By no stretch of the imagination would I call “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” a good “movie” in the purest sense. Funny, quotable, and universally simplistic were the winning formula that made it a cult comedy classic, but it was by no means some cinematic achievement. “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” is bigger, dumber, barely coherent and likely doesn’t have near the staying power of its predecessor, but damn was it entertaining.
Will Ferrell and company prove that they know how to make people laugh, even if you have no idea what is going on in the story. Surprisingly enough, though, they managed to successfully satire the way news is run today. There is no reason that this movie should be any good, other than these people know how to make us laugh and have picked a subject that was ripe for heckling.
To say there is a plot to “Anchorman 2” would be like saying that bears ice-skate in the Ukraine; I sure haven’t seen any evidence, but there’s always a chance. The film seems aimless, going from scene to scene without any real direction but to say another funny line. Honestly, if you went in expecting an actual story you probably were not properly informed before hand. Even with a preconceived notion of what you’d get, the lack of a definitive goal is baffling for any movie on this level.
Yet, only the truly cynical can walk out of this movie and really care about the lack of a legitimate story. The end game was whether or not the laughs were there. Are the jokes as clever or as memorable than the original? No. Is Ferrell, Steve Carell or Paul Rudd the best they’ve ever been? No. But you will laugh, perhaps ashamed at times of why you are laughing, but who cares, you laugh anyway.
The sequel tries to imitate the original in many aspects: from the things Ron Burgundy swears to, to perhaps the most star-studded, cameo-stuffed, battle royale you will ever see on screen. Likely it was the fact that they tried to top “Anchorman” that made any jokes fall flat in “Anchorman 2.” For every attempt to match their previous effort it, while still funny, always felt a little lacking. Running at two-hours long, a shorter run time probably wouldn’t have hurt either.
However, despite how dumb it is, despite that it is not as original as some may have hoped for, and how aimless and without direction it seems, it actually accomplishes it’s basic premise rather well. The 24-hour news channel has become a staple in the U.S. with news networks like Fox, CNN and MSNBC, and none of which are without their own unforgivable faults (some more than others). “Anchorman 2” takes these networks to task at their most basic, and provides one of the better satires in a while.
Ron Burgundy very early on in the film claims “why does the news have to give the people what they need to hear, why can’t it be what they want to hear?” It is a statement that sends him off on a shooting star to fame, and it seems to be the top priority for all of the major cable news channels these days. When court cases like Jodi Arias, or hour long debates over political correctness have become the norm, any thing Ron Burgundy does seems completely acceptable.
Burgundy realizes the true value of news, and to be fair, so do the news channels when there is actually something worth covering. Still, “Anchorman 2” highlights the basic pitfalls of something like 24-hour news. For that, and for the basic fact that it is easily one of the funnier movies of the year, the stupidity that is “Anchorman 2” can be forgiven to some degree and enjoyed.