Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Made for the princely sum of $24m, Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy earned itself a rather tidy (but hardly earth-shattering) $90m back in 2004. Going on to secure Burgundy’s legend through the medium of DVD and cable viewing, the film’s eventual lifespan culminated in the solidification of the movie as a cult classic amongst the sort of twentysomethings who attend “quotealong screenings” and wear t-shirts adorned with Brick Tamland’s one-liners. Now, nearly a decade later, Burgundy is back and the results are, well, less than satisfactory to say the least.
This time around, Burgundy is knocked from his pedestal and descends into alcoholism, raising his head to assume an anchor position at a (then) revolutionary new twenty-four hour news channel. Reuniting his (since disbanded) news team, the gang are all back; but a new rival anchor threatens to usurp Burgundy, and with a new love interest in his sights, Burgundy struggles with the corporation greed behind the channel and it’s interests. The solid grounds for a satirical adventure, but in reality however, all of that is merely a smoke screen for a vast array of uncomfortable humour you’ve already seen in the movie’s trailer.
Instead of taking a cue from the evolution between the first and second Austin Powers movies, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues instead takes it from the first and third Powers adventures; delivering an endless stream of recycled gags from the first movie and simply expanding them to the point that nobody in their right mind will still find them funny. Sex Panther, Odin’s beard, even the trident; they’re all back and stretched to the point that you’ll begin to question why you found them funny in the first place. The film’s concluding set piece is a testament to this, itself a mid-movie set piece from the first movie but here given three times the length and roughly ten times the number of explosions and celebrity cameos – several of which are genuinely head-scratching.
It’s a movie that reunites a cast who clearly enjoy working with each other – Paul Rudd in particular appears to be having a ball – but the watering down of their characters, combined with unfunny material and a staggering number of anachronistic jokes (OJ? Really?!) take weight away from what could have been a brilliant lampooning of the rolling news cycle. Carell’s bizarrely beefed-up role smacks of pandering simply to draw the bigger name star back for a sequel, and the decision to make David Koechner’s Champ character increasingly homoerotic seems to be a last resort in trying to find something for him to do. It’s a prime example of a sequel that tries too hard to intentionally replicate the improvisation that made the original what it was (see Iron Man 2 or any of the Pirates Of The Caribbean sequels for other franchise victims), relegating the endeavour to nothing more than a laughless rehashing of a once chucklesome movie that lost itself to an audience in “I love lamp” shirts.
Catch Van Connor’s reviews in our Movies section and live on Slam Dunk Cinema every Saturday at 12PM on Sheffield Live! 93.2FM or on the podcast via iTunes.
Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell