Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) have moved their partnership to New York, where Veronica is promoted and Ron is not. Faced with an existential crisis, Ron panics until he is given a chance to anchor a show on GNN – the first 24 hour news network – and he gets the old gang back together.
It is hard to believe that it has been nine years since Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy first graced our screens. In the intervening time the film has become a pop culture phenomenon, with fans quoting the film endlessly, and it seemed to be only a matter of time before Ron Burgundy would return to our screens. The question is, whether Anchorman 2: the Legend Continues worth the wait.
Will Ferrell is back on fantastic form as one of his most beloved characters, and he certainly ramps up the absurdity, not only in his wonderful sartorial choices, but his dialogue and exclamations – “By the hymen of Olivia Newton-John!” – are still top notch. The same goes for the rest of the news team; David Koechner is just as inappropriate and loudmouthed as before, Paul Rudd’s Brian Fantana is just as promiscuous and clueless as ever, and Steve Carell is a joy to watch as Brick Tamland, especially since he has a love interest – Chani L’astnamé (Kristen Wiig) – to bounce off. As well as the recurring cast, there are some fantastic cameos from very familiar faces, that are as brilliant as they are ridiculous.
Writers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay obviously relished the chance to return to San Diego’s top-rated news team, and even though the story is not too dissimilar to the first film, there is enough that is different, enough absurdity and enough background silliness to make the film feel fresh and new. The trouble is, it seems that Ferrell and McKay were all too aware of the legacy of the first film and, at times, it feels as though this sequel is trying a little too hard. That said, the call backs to the original are fantastic, the film still pokes fun – this time at racial stereotypes and the news media – and there is plenty to laugh at.
Adam McKay obviously allowed the actors to improvise a fair portion of the film, which makes for some genuinely ridiculous off the cuff jokes, and an air of joviality about the film; it is easy to imagine that these actors genuinely enjoyed going to work every morning. As well as this the tone and spirit of the first film are intact, and the new characters fit easily into Ron’s over the top world.
In all, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is a great follow up to a fantastic film. The laughs are there, the songs are there, and even though the film sometimes feels as though it is trying a little too hard, that is sort of the point. Fans of the original will not be disappointed, and happily, there is plenty of scope for a return to Ron Burgundy’s world.