Film Review: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (M) (USA, 2013)

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Ask anyone under the age of 30 what they think is the funniest film ever made, and 9 out of 10 of them will say Anchorman. Hardly a success when released in 2004, the film became a hit on DVD and has since become the most frequently quoted film amongst members of Generation Y. Who among us has never proclaimed that we “love lamp”? Or found ourselves in a glass case of emotion after drinking milk on a hot day? The film was zany and all over the place, but it worked. Ron Burgundy has justifiably become Will Ferrell’s signature role, and anticipation has been high ever since it was announced that the entire News Team would be back for another round. Once again directed by Adam McKay, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has finally been unleashed. So, now the question is: was it worth the wait? Oh, by the beard of Zeus, yes it was.

Fired from his job and separated from his wife, Veronica (Christina Applegate), Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) is approached by the new Global News Network to be a part of their attempt to create a 24-hour news station. Ron agrees and sets out to reassemble his old News Team: Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Champ Kind (David Koechner) and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). The team heads to New York City, where they become instrumental in changing the face of television journalism.

It is almost impossible to follow up a film as popular as Anchorman and not let down its passionate fanbase, especially when the original has had almost a decade to cement itself in people’s hearts, not to mention popular culture. To succeed, the sequel needs to respect the audience’s connection to the original by making some reference to it, while also presenting something that the audience has never seen before. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues achieves this with flying colours. It honestly makes the first film seem restrained in comparison; its bizarre and random nature has been taken to the next level here, and this film is best viewed with little knowledge of the absolutely inspired direction that it goes in. A late segment in which Ron moves to a lighthouse and gains an unlikely pet is possibly the weirdest and most wonderful thing you’ll see in the cinema this year.

It probably doesn’t need to be mentioned, but this film is funny. Seriously funny. It has some of the most consistent laugh-out-loud jokes of any film in recent memory, with very few falling flat. The idea of the News Team struggling to comprehend having a black, female boss, Linda (Meagan Good), is funny at first but quickly becomes uncomfortable, and Ron and Linda’s brief relationship could have been cut from the movie without losing any laughs. However, the whole film is leading up to the the pièce de résistance. The less you know about it the better, but know this. It is another News Team brawl, and your jaw will drop when you see the line-up of cameos that the sequence contains. Despite all the pure silliness on display throughout, the film actually manages to make a commentary on the state of modern journalism, and even includes a not so subtle jab at media moguls such as Rupert Murdoch.

Ferrell slips back into the role of Ron Burgundy as though no time has past at all. Ferrell was born to play Ron, and his complete commitment to the role anchors the film. He makes Ron charismatic and endlessly endearing, while also managing to remain somewhat grounded while everything around him is going crazy. Understandably, given his exponential rise in fame since the original film, Steve Carell’s Brick is given the most focus of the supporting cast. Carell almost takes the role way over the top, but Brick is so lovable and hilarious that he never takes it too far. His burgeoning romance with Chani (Kristen Wiig) is not really a required subplot, but it is worth it to see two of comedy’s star players working off each other. Paul Rudd is a little underused, and poor David Koechner has even less of a presence than in the original, which is understandable given that he has always been the least amusing of the team.

Here’s the bottom line: if you loved Anchorman you will love The Legend Continues. It gets as close as it can to reaching the greatness of the first film, and is likely to be looked back on fondly in years to come. Let’s hope it isn’t another 9 years before we see the next chapter of the legend of Ron Burgundy on the big screen!

Review Score: FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Runtime: 119 Minutes

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is in cinemas now. It was reviewed at the opening night of the Malteser’s Moonlight Cinema in Adelaide. More details about the Moonlight Cinema can be found here: http://www.moonlight.com.au/‎