‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ Review

Published 9 months ago by , Updated August 22nd, 2014 at 12:44 am,

GNN News Team Anchorman 2 Legend Continues Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Review

In Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, beloved broadcaster Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his now-wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) are at the top of their game – covering nationwide weekend news as co-anchors at the NYC-based headquarters for WBC. However, when the pair is invited to meet with the network’s retiring primetime anchor, Corningstone is promoted (becoming the first female lead anchor in nationwide news reporting) and Burgundy is fired. Dejected and bitter at WBC’s decision, Burgundy forces Corningstone to choose between her promotion and their marriage.

With no job prospects (and a now estranged wife) in New York City, Burgundy moves back to San Diego (leaving his seven-year-old son behind) where he, depressed and drunk, hosts the live dolphin show at Sea World. That is until Burgundy is contacted by a TV producer about to change the anchorman business forever by creating the 24-hour news cycle. Armed with renewed purpose, Burgundy sets out to reunite with his former broadcast team - Champ Kind (David Koechner), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) – so that they can make history (and seek revenge on WBC) as part of the newly-founded Global News Network (GNN).

Will Ferrell Ron Burgundy Anchorman 2 Legend Continues Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Review

Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy in ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’

The original Anchorman, released in 2004, was a critical and commercial success, offering a likable mix of quotable one-liners embedded in a tongue-in-cheek story about 1970s broadcast journalism misogyny – a story that also happened to feature a bear-whispering border terrier. Yet, while the entire writing/directing/producing team is back for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, very few of the laughs are bigger or smarter this round. In general, McKay’s sequel is an adequate followup, but overall it is a disjointed mix of set piece gags, strung together by a convoluted storyline, with jokes that fall somewhere in between laugh-out-loud entertainment (another cameo-heavy news team brawl) and uninspired riffs on setups that moviegoers will have seen done better many times before (Burgundy at an African-American family dinner).

Where the original film delivered with fresh improvisation, resulting in sharp (albeit random) jokes, the sequel often takes a more obvious and less inspired path – assuming that bigger comedy setups will make up for any lack of invention. Fans of the original will likely enjoy seeing the news team back on screen for more hijinks, and find plenty of funny moments worth a viewing, but that doesn’t absolve Anchorman 2 of being a pretty routine followup – one that could be disappointing to viewers that were expecting Ferrell and McKay to deliver a superior (or at least equivalent) quality sequel.

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The GNN News Team: Paul Rudd, David Koechner, and Steve Carell in ‘Anchorman 2′

Understandably, the core story takes a backseat to outrageous comedy beats in The Legend Continues, but unlike its predecessor, the sequel indulges in so many ridiculous (and sometimes eye-rolling) detours that very few of the film’s larger satirical elements or character arcs build to anything particularly captivating. Instead, McKay and Ferrell mostly copy and paste iconic gags from the original and update them from San Diego in the mid-1970s to Manhattan in the early 1980s – meaning that certain characters are actually going through the same motions (and relearning the same lessons) as the last film. For example, after alienating his friends and love interest in The Legend of Ron Burgundy, only to reconcile in the final act, the titular character follows nearly the exact same self-destructive journey in the sequel – once again pushing Veronica away when she threatens his success and taking his frustrations out (once again) on his news team friends.

Instead of evolving the main characters and placing them in a fresh situation, McKay actually causes beloved favorites, especially Burgundy, to become less interesting – and worst of all less likable – in the sequel. In fact, despite a solid cast of beloved side characters, Anchorman 2 makes the curious choice to rely almost entirely on Ferrell and much less on the franchise ensemble – meaning that audiences rarely get a break from Burgundy this round. The anchorman is a funny character, no doubt, but given the movie’s lengthy (for a comedy) two-hour runtime (the original was 95 minutes), and reliance on redundant story material, certain viewers may find that even if they like Burgundy’s schtick, the character will wear-out his welcome by the end – especially given that his consistent presence comes at the expense of screen time for other fan-favorite players that helped offset the anchorman last time.

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Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) and Chani (Kristin Wiig) in ‘Anchorman 2′

The news team, in particular, falls victim to the film’s overstuffed list of tangents – with McKay mainly cutting to the supporting roster for reaction shots in Burgundy-fueled situations. Once the film reincorporates Champ and Brian, actors Koechner and Paul Rudd are given very little to do – with few standout scenes of their own. Brick is provided with a slightly expanded role, as he pursues Chani (Kristen Wiig), an equally childlike WBC telephone worker. Nevertheless, Brick’s romance story amounts to only three brief scenes outside of the main Burgundy plot – which is a shame, considering the interplay between Wiig and Carell is one of the more endearing aspects of the sequel.

In place of “good old boy” 1970s misogyny, Anchorman 2 attempts to spearhead 1980s workplace racism with the introduction of Linda Jackson, GNN’s African American TV producer (played by Meagan Good), but without the same biting satire that made watching the Corningstone/Burgundy rivalry so enjoyable. Where Corningstone still serves as a smart foil for Burgundy, and a play on traditional anchor-”man” tropes, Jackson is little more than an excuse for the main character to point out racial stereotypes for the sake of cheap laughs. Good does her best in the role, but like many of the characters in Anchorman 2, McKay never takes the time to explore Jackson or her thematic potential beyond moment-to-moment jokes. James Marsden’s Jack Lime, GNN’s primetime anchor, is equally underserved as Burgundy’s rival (and eventual punching bag) with only one or two key plot points to even make his inclusion necessary.

Christina Applegate Veronica Corningstone Meagan Good Linda Jackson Anchorman 2 Legend Continues Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Review

Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) and Linda Jackson (Meagan Good) in ‘Anchorman 2′

Ultimately, McKay and Ferrell built a strong franchise foundation in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy with likable characters and quotable dialogue that has made the film a modern comedy classic. The project set a very high bar and, as a result, even when the sequel succeeds, it is inferior in nearly every way imaginable: less intelligent, less funny, and less memorable. As a result, while Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues will likely fall short of certain viewer expectations, the followup is still slightly better than a lot of its contemporaries, and thanks to fun performances from the cast, offers enough laughs to make it worthy of tempered recommendation.

If you’re still on the fence about Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, check out the trailer below:

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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues runs 119 minutes and is Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, drug use, language and comic violence. Now playing in theaters.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comment section below.

For an in-depth discussion of the film by the Screen Rant editors check back soon for our Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues episode of the SR Underground podcast.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future reviews, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5

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  1. 3 out of 5 times, it’s funny every time.

    • +1

    • I’m gonna be honest with you that smells like pure gasoline.

  2. 3 out 5 is enough for me. :)

  3. That was a harsh review. After reading it, I thought for sure you were only going to give it one star. For all the negativity you wrote about it, there didnt seem like enough good things about it to give it three stars.

    • I can understand how you’d feel that way but, for the most part, it’s just more Anchorman – but less inspired. It’s a sequel with mostly all of the same characters doing similar things as they did last time. So why spend time explaining to readers that what worked in the original still works here? Instead, I tried to focus on explaining why the film might fall short for people who were expecting a lot from the sequel.

      I said pretty early on in the review: “Fans of the original will likely enjoy seeing the news team back on screen for more hijinks, and find plenty of funny moments worth a viewing, but that doesn’t absolve Anchorman 2 of being a pretty routine followup – one that could be disappointing to viewers that were expecting Ferrell and McKay to deliver a superior (or at least equivalent) quality sequel.”

      • If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

        • Yeah, but look at the Hangover: Part II. But don’t. Don’t look at it.

  4. Honestly I’m really surprised with the level of reviews Anchorman 2 is getting. Most comedies of this nature get brutally panned by critics, but this one has mostly positive reviews and a respectable RT percentage for the time being. That’s kind of a big deal.

  5. this is why Will Ferrell doesn’t like doing sequels

    • Wait. Does that mean we’re NOT getting a Land of the Lost sequel? How disappointing. :P

  6. So be it. There are two kinds of Will Ferrell. The kind where a director is “brave” enough to know when his improvisation just isn’t that funny and reigns him in, and the kind where he is just allowed to say anything and presumably everyone laughs every single time.

    The first ‘Anchorman’ was the former. So I’ll dig any movie following this manner. Of course, ‘The Other Guys’ I found very hard to enjoy because of the latter. But both movies were made by the same director, so it is very possible I have no idea what I am talking about…

    • I HATED the other guys. that movie sucked buttermilk. the best part was him saying he learned to drive like that playing GTA, but hell they showed that in the trailers. i’ll try to get my daughter to get me in a free showing, otherwise prolly a rental. non-bluray.

  7. This movie was really stupid but not necessarily in a bad way. Brick stole the show and had the most hilarious moments, however the stupidity and rediculousness eventually just isnt as funny. It becomes old. It would be like a 2 hour episode of family guy with only peters anticts. But worth a watch.

    • “It would be like a 2 hour episode of family guy with only peters anticts.”

      I would go see that.

      • To the Hindenpeter!

      • @Doom…Really? You would see a 2 hour episode of only Peter? Man, how do you not appreciate Stewie and Brian?

        • If it was an all peter movie or none at all, then ya, better than nothing. Find the review a little dissapointing, comedies an actions movies tend to not evolve their characters and thats unfortunate.

  8. Just got in from seeing it and I loved it. I think I would give it 4 stars. There was a little bit of inspiration to it imo.

  9. I thought the first Anchorman was okay but nothing special. If it’s more of the same then I think I will just wait for the rental. I like Will Ferrell but the only movies I really thought he had an epic performance was in Old School and Step Brothers. Everything else has just been eh.

  10. Well… it isn’t a total flop, so that is good enough for me.

  11. I don’t know what these people are thinking. I laughed so hard I got dizzy. It was the most awesome movie ever. Hilarious!

  12. I will do what I do with every comedy and horror movie that gets reviewed and automatically add an additional star. These two genres usually get strikes against them for just being what they are. 4/5 and a 77% on RT works for me!

  13. If you loved the first film, you will love this one, and vice versa. I laughed so much that I have a hard time remembering all the bits, can’t wait for it to come out on disc :D

  14. I’m sure the bluray will be unrated and way funnier that what was released in the theater.

  15. I loved the first one but this was a racist follow up. Not classy at all.

  16. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then DONT SEE IT RIGHT NOW. just wait for dollar theatre if you have one or wait for DVD.

    Ben’s review, above, is spot on. The movie was basically the exact same formula repeated. Which I know seems like a good thing but I wanted a better plot to go with the same gags. Basically you get the same jokes and scenes as part 1 tweeked a little but very uninspired or forced.

    The movie was funny but the magic was lost. I consider myself one of the biggest Anchorman fans out there and I love Will Ferrell but for all the hype this movie was getting before its release, it sure didn’t deliver.

    I would give it 2.5 out of 5 stars

    • I will say this, in this sequel you get a lot more of Brick and a lot less of Brian and Champ.

  17. OMG worst movie ever, i felt sorry for Steve carrell character, it was painful to watch, everybody involved in this movie should be fired.

  18. -5 stars for real

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