It's rare to get a movie that is this funny but this crazy and messy as it adds more jokes then humanly imaginable. "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" easily qualifies as rarely have I seen a movie that is as funny as it is, but still an unholy mess that barely registers under the traditional definition of a film and is just a string of sketches and bits that either work incredibly well, or simply not at all now in three different lengths.
With the 70s behind him, San Diego's top rated newsman, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) finds that the 80's are a little tougher than he expected as he has to go home to his roots and reassemble his news team (Paul Rudd, David Koechner and Steve Carell) to return to take the nation's first 24-hour news channel by storm and change the face of news forever.
Don't get me wrong, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has more than enough genuine laughs to at least make it a recommended watch, but go in knowing that what looks to be a somewhat subversive satire looking at the flaws in the 24 hour news cycle in which we currently live, may have happened by accident as director Adam McKay and co-writer and star Will Ferrell basically went into this putting everything and anything that they thought was funny on to the screen. The story starts off well enough but as they get further and further into the narrative the stakes get even higher and higher as things just proceed to get increasingly more ridiculous, filled with gags that work and gags that just don't. It veers off into some decent subplots as Brick engages in an office romance with his female equivalent Chani (Kirsten Wiig), but it also throws up these oddly elaborate obstacles just for the sake of setting up a joke. Almost like a rollercoaster ride, when a broad joke falls flat you know that it won't take long for another one to swing around and hit the mark. Very smart and very stupid are living incredibly close to one another in this film and while some of the beats do mimic the first film, the cast brings enough fresh energy to the table to make sure this doesn't feel like a cookie cutter sequel.
Ferrell, Rudd, Carell and Koechner all feel committed to at least bringing back the same feeling of camaraderie back together on the screen as their chemistry together is obviously first rate. And while for the first half of the film they all were focused on the story, as it dragged into the second half of the film everyone's performance in the entire film simply felt like it was about getting a bigger laugh or a bigger reaction then the person next to them. With enough cameos to sink a ship, the familiar faces and gags get a little overwhelming but the likes of James Marsden as Burgundy's handsome news nemesis Jack Lime plays the part very well.
Picture and sound quality are top notch and with over 4 hours of special features and the theatrical, extended and super-sized versions of the film keep the laughs keep going. There's a feature length commentary track by writer/director Adam McKay, producers Will Ferrell, Judd Apatow and stars Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner, behind the scenes looks and featurettes multiple gag reels, cast table reads, cast auditions and while the super-sized version is supposed to have 763 (it may very well have, I didn't count) there is more than enough for some quality laughs.
The good parts of "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" outweighed the sloppy ones for the most part but watching it with a critical and analytical eye was actually a little weird because when your laughing your head off while just marveling at what an absurd mess it all is at the same time, it is a weird combination of emotions for anyone to be dealing with.
3 out of 5 stars.