Movie Review #680
Paramount Pictures presents…
Studio: Apatow Productions – Gary Sanchez Productions
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Spoken Languages: English
Directed by Adam McKay. Produced by Judd Apatow, Will Ferrell, and Adam McKay. Written by Will Ferrell & Adam McKay. Characters by Will Ferrell & Adam McKay.
Rated PG-13 by the MPAA – sexual content, drug material, profanity, comic violence. Runs 1 hour, 59 minutes. Sydney premiere on November 24, 2013. Wide release in the USA on December 18, 2013.
Narrated by Bill Kurtis. Starring Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Meagan Good, and James Marsden. Also starring Dylan Baker, Judah Nelson, Greg Kinnear, Kristen Wiig, Harrison Ford. Featuring credited cameo appearances from Clay Stapleford, Wilbur Fitzgerald, Karen Beyer, Brian Steele, Sacha Baron Cohen, Marion Cotillard, Liam Neeson, Will Smith, Kirsten Dunst, and Joe Washington; and uncredited cameo appearances from Gelin DiGennaro, William Frasca, Gary Hardt, Vince Vaughn, Amanda Q Williams, Jim Carrey, Tina Fey, Victor Gage, Chris Gethard, Tony Guerrero, Liam Neeson, Amy Poehler, John C. Reilly, and Kanye West.
“If I man dies with love in his heart, does he truly die?”
That’s the kind of marvelously written epic pondering you’ll find in “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”. I know. I’m practically infamous for my distasteful review of 2004’s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”. Never would you expect me to refer to the sequel, nine years later, as “marvelously written,” let alone an “epic pondering.” But I did. This is priceless Will Ferrell-Adam McKay comedy. Priceless. The movie is defined accurately by words like “the legend continues.” Our hero, Ron Burgundy (Ferrell), fan of his own hair and gorgeous mustache, is married to Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). They divorce, but what do you expect from their obviously on-off relationship. Regardless, they now have a son, and she now has a job as a major nightly anchor. They’re basically rivals throughout the story, because Ron is working as a major anchor for another company–GNN (Global News Network), which is looking to pioneer 24-hour news. But in order to keep his family’s respect, his anchor team’s respect, and not throw his narcissism way out of line, Ron Burgundy must find a balance between work-love, family-love, and self-love.
As explained Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), who usually chooses to alternatively express his 48 IQ, Burgundy’s ego and hubris must be given up if he wants forgiveness. Or something like that.
And no, I’m not kidding. I actually enjoyed this movie, which succeeded mostly in its writing, a lot. That plot looks fairly normal, right? “A man with a more-than-respectable hairdo faces the ultimate choice: either gloating his marvelousness, or keeping steady relationships with his co-workers and family.” Well, that’s where a log line can throw you off, because that summarizes Beowulf and Odysseus, as well. Not that “Anchorman 2” doesn’t share those same epic proportions, but it’s in getting to all of that, that the written collaboration between star Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay succeeds dynamically. Amid a few shallow scrapes of predictability are a couple handfuls of comedy that work better than in the first one. (I did rewatch “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” recently, and even enjoying it a lot more the second time around, I’d say the sequel still comes out on top.) How do you explain the hilarity of that early scene when Steve Carell attends his funeral? Or that climactic scene where the main cast, as well as the cameoing twelve (at least!) established performers, orchestrate a science fiction battle against Ron Burgundy and company? Okay, I’ll admit that was part of a lazy wrap-up, but it fits. Everything leading in had me dying. Everything from the (first) moment Ron compliments his wife’s bodily formation, up to the point at which Ferrell spends two minutes singing a tribute to his son’s pet shark, “Doby”. I just couldn’t stop laughing.
“Anchorman 2” is flawed, but I’m dying to give it a higher score than three stars. This was the comedy of the year, and decidedly as signature a movie for Ferrell and McKay as 2006’s “Talladega Nights” (as if the first “Anchorman” movie wasn’t). Without a doubt, I’ll flick this out there to those who can only claim to have seen Ferrell as Blue Öyster Cult’s cowbell player on Saturday Night Live. His humor hasn’t become anything different, but it’s certainly developed. Often times some of the humor is just found in the musical choices, or how they complement their respective scenes. I’ll give “Anchorman 2” a special mention for its soundtrack, which enjoyably fits its time period. Neil Diamond, Kenny Loggins, Van Halen, Foreigner, Earth Wind & Fire, the Steve Miller Band, Simon & Garfunkel. The movie is a convincing and amusing representation of its time period in every facet I can think of, actually.
But one could go into much detail about how stylish “Anchorman 2” is, down to that beautiful mustache of Burgundy’s, and they’d still be overlooking the best of “Anchorman 2”. By the hymen of Olivia Newton-John, it’s as quotable as the first movie! I laughed like a ventriloquist dummy watching it at the theater, and for the intended audience especially, that’s truly enough to make it a worthwhile movie. For those of us here at Cinemaniac Reviews, I’m the Cinemaniac. Don’t just have a great night. Have an American night. (Or just stay classy. Thanks for stopping by.)
NOTE: Stay after the credits. I know, it’s a pet peeve of mine, too, but if you want that last laugh… Also, that last paragraph was filled with Anchorman quotes, in case you couldn’t tell.