Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (M)

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Review byMatthew Turner19/12/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 119 mins

Watchable sequel enlivened by strong comic performances from a talented cast, though it never quite hits the comic heights of the first film and slightly over-stays its welcome at two hours.

What's it all about?
Directed by Adam McKay, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is the sequel to the 2004 hit which sees Will Ferrell reprising his role as San Diego's top newsman, Ron Burgundy. The film catches up with both Ron and ex-nemesis Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) in the 1980s, who are now married with a kid (Judah Nelson as Walter Burgundy) and happily co-hosting a news show for grizzled TV exec Mack Harken (Harrison Ford) in New York.

However, when Veronica is promoted while he's made redundant, Ron's ego can't handle it, so he takes up an offer to join the team at GNN and become the face of America's first 24 hour news channel. He also takes the opportunity to re-unite his old San Diego news team – macho redneck Champ Kind (David Koechner), ladies' man consumer reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and dopey weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) – but quickly finds himself clashing with both rival anchorman Jack Lime (James Marsden) and his feisty new boss Linda Jackson (Meagan Good).

The Good
Ferrell, Rudd, Carell and Koechner are all seasoned comic performers and their lively rapport is as appealing here as it was in the first film. There's also strong support from the likes of James Marsden, Kristen Wiig (as a co-worker who has a ridiculously sweet romance with Brick's character) and Greg Kinnear (as Veronica's new boyfriend), though Christina Applegate is regrettably side-lined this time round and has to share several scenes with Judah Nelson, who is, frankly, one of the worst child actors in recent memory.

The script (co-written by Ferrell and McKay) works best when taking well-aimed swipes at a certain thinly-veiled media mogul (Josh Lawson as an Australian named Allenby) and commenting on the pitiful, entertainment-driven state of US news channels today – one particular highlight involves Ron stalling for time by cutting to, and speculating on, a live freeway chase, which then becomes a ratings smash.

The Bad
A handful of satirical digs aside (it's hard to hate a film that takes the piss out of Fox News), the majority of the jokes feel forced and you can feel the filmmakers struggling to repeat the successful formula of the first film. Basically, you know you're in trouble when the best joke in the sequel (a celebrity cameo-heavy gangfight) was also the best joke in the original.

On top of that, too many of the jokes fall painfully flat (there is some wildly misjudged racist humour in particular) and the film is a good twenty minutes too long, clocking in at just under two hours.

Worth seeing?
As sequels go, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is watchable enough, but it lacks the spark of the original film and feels lazy and self-indulgent throughout, while failing to deliver any properly big laughs.

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Content updated: 20/05/2019 19:14

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