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'Anchorman 2' can't live up to its own legend but it's still pretty darn funny

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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues


Release date: December 18, 2013

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Directed by: Adam McKay

Written by: Adam McKay and Will Ferrell

Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, James Marsden, Megan Goode, David Koechner, and Steve Carrell

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What most people probably don't remember about the first "Anchorman" is that it fizzled at the box office in 2004, barely grossing $85 million domestically and $90 mil. worldwide. Total. But the film took off with its DVD release, becoming a cult classic and quotable favorite. Enter the overhyped sequel that can't possibly measure up to its own standards.

Be warned, though. It's weird and homophobic and sexist and even slightly racist. And yes, even funny.

"Anchorman 2: the Legend Continues" is a typical "get the band back together" sequel that finds our man, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) having to reunite his former news team when he gets a chance to headline a 24 hour news program. Of course Ron's opinion of himself has always been a little higher than those around him, and his ego gets a bit of a gut check when his team lands the graveyard shift. He's up against stiff competition from a good looking reporter played by James Marsden, and a new boss, played by the lovely Meagan Good, who is black, a fact that both Burgundy and the movie are constantly reminding the audience of.

But what the heck, there are some good bits here, especially about the evolution of the news during the 80's, even if the movie isn't quite sure what year it's supposed to take place in. The narrator says 1980 at one point but there are tons of 80s references that span the decade. Thankfully the film's no holds barred humor is enough to outweigh some of the uncomfortable moments, and the overly long scenes that feature Ferrell in extreme close up screaming his lines.

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So, yes, it's funny and at times laugh out loud hilarious -- which is really all that matters about a movie like this. The good news is that this isn't one of those situations where all the best bits are in the trailer. Several are, but there is a lot in the previews, trailers, and TV spots that ended up on the cutting room floor. You can probably expect a special cut for the Blu-ray that is comprised of many of these deleted scenes and alternate takes. But there are some good laughs to be found. Ferrell and McKay keep the one liners and site gags coming at light speed and they never let up.

For everything that works, there is something that doesn't. Kristen Wiig is introduced as a love interest for Carell's Brick Tamland character, but many of their seemingly improvised scenes do nothing for the overall movie, other than to derail any momentum. The same goes for an odd section of the movie involving one of the main characters going blind. Some funny stuff, but it just feels like too much. The film's running time is already pushing a way too long two hours, and there is definitely some excess fat that could have been trimmed. It already feels like it's just one skit after another, with little point other than to set up the next round of ad-libbed jokes.

To top it all off, there is a cameo packed ending that would have been a fun throwback scene to the original if it had happened halfway through this movie. It's crazy, preposterous, and ludicrous -- and that's before one of the characters turns into a werewolf-hyena thingy. Seriously, it's crazy. The ending involving Burgundy trying to right things with his wife and son is already muddled as it is and the cameo fest that explodes at the end is just another out of place scene that does nothing but drag out the film's predictable conclusion.

But the bottom line is simple. If you're looking for a bizarre and mindless comedy that somewhat resembles the movie and characters you've quoted non-stop for the past eight years, you're in luck. There is plenty to laugh at here. Just don't look too deep or else those little flaws will cast a pretty big glare.

Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content, drug use, language and comic violence

Running time: 1 hour 58 mins.

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