Charlie Greenwald ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Growing up, there were three motion pictures that I reenacted with my high school buddies constantly. The first was the cult classic workplace comedy Napoleon Dynamite, with quotes like “do chickens have large talons,” and “your mom goes to college.” The second was the hilarious high school parody Mean Girls, with lines like “she doesn’t even go here,” and “good for you Glen Coco,” dominating the conversation. The third was Anchorman—the movie with more hysterical one-liners than any other film I can think of.
That Anchorman came out in 2003. It’s been almost 10 years since Ron Burgundy’s gorgeous auburn hair and thrilling ensemble suits graced the silver screen. But he’s back, and boy, is it crazy. Will Ferrell, David Koechner, Paul Rudd and Steve Carell have returned with a ridiculous, outrageous Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which picks up exactly where the first one left off. Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) are anchoring network news, and they have a wonderful life and an adorable son. Suddenly, Mack Harken (played by Harrison Ford in a small and semi-funny part), Ron’s boss, fires him on account of his arrogance and lackluster performance in the newsroom.
Outraged, Ron demands that Veronica quit with him in solidarity, but she refuses to give up the job she worked so hard for just because Ron got canned. They break up, and Ron, destroyed, goes back to San Diego and takes a job introducing the orca trainers at Sea World. Ron is then approached by a news producer from GNN, the Global News Network (guess which network this parodies?), and is asked to be the late-night anchor. Ron recruits his old news team—Champ, Brian, and Brick—and heads to New York to win back his wife and his reputation.
The first Anchorman slowly became a cult classic due to its whimsical tone, its hysterical satire of cable news and its outrageously funny performances from everyone in the film. There are hilarious sequences of characters trying to outdo each other hitting on girls, fighting in alleyways, and musical performances both a capella and woodwind. All of these are reprised in amusing ways.
Koechner, Rudd and Carell are all hysterical, nailing their characters and tapping right back into the blundering buffoons they played in the first movie. Kristen Wiig is funny as Brick’s love interest, but doesn’t have a ton to work with. James Marsden is terrific as Ron’s pretty-boy nemesis, Jack Lime. Marsden, who has had several leads in romantic comedies and played Cyclops in the X-Men films, is effortlessly funny as the newsman who steals Ron’s thunder, using his cheeky grin to his advantage. Meagan Good is sassy as Ron’s boss, and Greg Kinnear pops up in a terrifically well-developed role as Veronica’s new suitor while Ron tries to win her back. There are some classic one-liners, mostly between Ron and his news team, but this film adds a few more new tricks; some slow-motion sequences, wordplay and direct jabs at celebrities and companies in modern-day American news.
I can’t give this film an A, simply because it damn near crushed Steve Carell’s beloved Brick (one of my favorites) with a lot of mediocre jokes, doesn’t use the always great Paul Rudd enough, and lags towards the end with an ill-conceived third act involving a shark and a lighthouse. But characters and jokes from the first film pop up all over the place—a few for too long, but most for too short—and they mostly keep the story moving right along with every scene.
There is a thrilling and uproarious final 15 minutes, with so many cameos from A-list stars that you’ll be howling and screaming with your friends. It speaks to the first film’s legacy that so many actors agreed to appear in the new movie, and Will Ferrell is in the entire movie, in basically every scene, and although at times you want a small break from Ron’s absurd antics, there’s no denying that he is one of the most original and well-acted comedic characters in 21st century film. Ferrell commits 100% to this role, and it’s worth the price of admission to see him give every fiber of his being to this moronic anchorman.
Overall Grade: B+