Ever since Adam Mckay and Will Ferrell announced that there would be a sequel to the 2004 cult classic, ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgendy’, the wait has been challenging, to say the least. However, that strenuous wait is finally over and ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ is finally upon us. Undoubtedly expectations are high, but does it live up to them? It may pain me to say it, but the answer is a disappointing no.
The whole cast returns, but this time with a host of cameos including Kanye West, Will Smith and Drake; we join our beloved newsreader Ron Burgendy several years after the events of the first film where after becoming a washed up celebrity he, along with his fabled news team, reluctantly takes a job on a brand new ’24 hour news network’.
The underlying plot is sound as Burgendy discovers that live car chases, animal stories and patriotism will always win the ratings war but the jokes that are constantly thrown at you are more weird than funny, many of them seem to misfire, and you even go long periods of time without even laughing, which was easily the most disappointing aspect of the film. Our normally loveable characters put these jokes across by often just howling or screeching at each other, for example many of the scenes with Brick (Carell) and his new love interest Chani (Kristin Wiig) contain jokes where the two are quite literally just shouting at each other and it’s neither charming nor funny, and just create sheer awkwardness. There’s no doubt that in the first film, Carell’s character Brick was one of the highlights, he had unforgettable moments, let’s not forget the iconic “I love lamp”, but in its sequel, there is too much focus on him, and he has far too many one liners that misfire and just fall flat.
This is not to say that ‘Anchorman 2’ is a bad film, it is still has its moments that have you laughing out loud, in particular the scenes with Ron’s interracial relationship with his boss, Linda Jackson (Megan Good). Although these scenes are, well, extremely racist, Mckay and Ferrell present them in such a way that they get away with it, and they provide the laugh out loud highlight of the film.
The second half of the film is filled with non-stop A-list celebrity cameos, and although it provides a moment of laughter, it also shows a hint of laziness and a lack of creativeness from writers Mckay and Ferrell. This laziness can also be seen in the variety of repeated jokes that are seen throughout the film in particular the scene where Brian Fantana’s (Rudd) memorable ‘perfume wardrobe’ is replaced with a ‘condom wardrobe’.
There’s no doubt that ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ is a huge disappointment, the laughs are simply nowhere near as strong, or as frequent as they are in its prequel. Perhaps it would be harsh to criticise the film so strongly, after all, the first film got significantly better after further viewings, so this may be required for the sequel, but with cinema prices these days, who can afford to see the same film twice?