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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Our Rating
2½ Stars - Fair
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Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (For crude and sexual content, drug use, language and comic violence.)
Genre
Directed By
Adam McKay
Run Time
1 hour 59 minutes
Cast
Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner
Theatre Release
December 18, 2013 by Paramount Pictures

Unless you're living under a rock or in a cave or in some sort of lean-to out in the Australian outback, you've probably heard an advertisement for Anchorman 2: The Legend Returns. The character and eponymous legend Ron Burgundy (as played by Will Ferrell) has appeared in car commercials, radio advertisements, and late-night talk shows. He has done stories on ESPN. His face is plastered on billboards all over every city in the country (well, perhaps "his face" is too general—it's really just his Mustache, capital-M, bushy and immaculately groomed). The ad campaign has raised Internet ire, with people complaining that the sheer market penetration of the ad campaign devalues the cult status of the first movie, which was released in 2004.

Christina Applegate, Will Ferrell, and Meagan Good in 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'Image: Gemma LaMana / Paramount Pictures Corporation

Christina Applegate, Will Ferrell, and Meagan Good in 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'

But one thing's for certain: the people want more of the misogynistic, easily confused, egotistical, racially insensitive, mustachioed man named Ron Burgundy. And now we have him, courtesy of director Andy McKay and lead writer Will Ferrell. We pick up Ron Burgundy almost right where we left him: not quite the galactic news anchor the first movie predicted, Ron is now co-anchor with his wife Veronica (Christina Applegate) for a new station based in New York. The coastal shift has seen Ron pursue his previously subdued love of turtlenecks, as well as father a child with Veronica, named Walter (Judah Nelson). However, when his boss (Harrison Ford) fires him from his job, but keeps Veronica, Ron abandons his family, getting a job instead with a heretofore unheard-of 24-hour news network called GNN.

GNN's purpose, as the first 24-hour news network (at least in this universe), is basically to lampoon the modern news industry. Ron is allegedly the inventor of not only special interest stories, but also the live news report (to fill a news gap with speculation on current events that Ron knows nothing about), hyper-emphatic patriotism ("Don't just have a good day," he says, "have an American day"), and the universal sense of corporate sponsorship (Ron pulls a real news story about planes losing parts just because the owner of the airlines also owns GNN). The shots Anchorman 2 takes at the likes of CNN and Fox News are well-deserved, but a little too "safe" and sanitary—in no way is Anchorman 2 a satire of the modern media.

And that's fine. It would be totally insane to fault Anchorman 2 for not being serious and barbed enough when the first movie featured things like digressional cartoon interludes, a scene of a (clearly fake) dog being punted off a bridged by an enraged biker, Ron's dog Baxter talking down an angry bear (I could clarify the syntax of that clause but it wouldn't make anything more clear), and more. Anchorman was both the funniest and the least straight-laced movie of 2004, and for Anchorman 2 to be anything else would be totally incongruous.

So, then, what kind of movie is this sequel?

Let's draw a totally arbitrary line between two kinds of comedy: character-based and situation-based. Of course every comedy has elements of both (barring some sort of Buster Keaton-esque silent film shenanigans) but what's important here is that some comedies lean more towards one and some towards the other. On the side of situational comedies, we've got stuff like Meet the Parents/Fockers, Wedding Crashers, and most terrible sitcoms (like the modern Dads and S**t My Dad Says and Mom and Two And a Half Men and so on).

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