Friday, 23 May 2014

Bonus Review: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)

Most people will already know whether or not they're going to like Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. It reteams writer-director Adam McKay with writer-star Will Ferrell, it brings back all of the main cast member, and it fills the screen with many gags riffing on material from the first movie.

Ferrell is Ron Burgundy, of course, and this movie sees him at another crossroads in his life. He's having relationship problems with Veronica (Christina Applegate) and he's not the success he once was, but Freddie Shapp (Dylan Baker) comes along at just the right time to make him an interesting offer. 24 hour news. The idea seems ridiculous, but when Ron is allowed to get his old team back together he sees no reason not to at least give it a go. Which allows viewers to spend more time with Ron, Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), and Champ Kind (David Koechner).

I was hoping to love this sequel, and perhaps one day I will. But not today. It has some decent gags here and there, but too many moments feel either overdone and stretched out, with the film coming in at just under two hours, or far too reliant on replaying jokes from the first movie, with minor variations.

I must say, however, that when I first saw the first Anchorman movie I wasn't impressed. I didn't see what all the fuss was about. And then I ended up watching it almost every day for a fortnight, eventually coming to the conclusion that it was the funniest movie of the year. I'm not sure if the same thing will happen here, but I will allow for the fact that this may well grow on me.

As well as Dylan Baker, Meagan Good is a new addition to the sprawling ensemble, adding some more discomfort for Burgundy by being both a woman and black. Yes, you can imagine some of the awkwardness that ensues, but Good matches everyone in the cast with her fun, fiery turn. James Marsden gives yet another great performance in an increasingly long line of great performances (seriously, the guy is turning into quite the scene-stealer) as Burgundy's main rival in the studio, Greg Kinnear gets a few good moments as Burgundy's main rival elsewhere, and Kirsten Wiig bumps up the laugh quota as a female counterpart to Brick Tamland. Fans will also be happy to hear that there's another cameo-filled fight scene to liven up the third act.

McKay and Ferrell seems to bring out both the worst and the best in one another. They have some great ideas, and great running gags, but the self-indulgence on display sometimes outweighs the thin material, and an excessive runtime really doesn't help.

Of course, those who enjoy the whole thing more than I did will welcome every extra minute.

Those who want to stay classy for much longer will do well to pick up Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues on Bluray, which also contains the alternate version of the movie (complete with 763 new jokes, according to the advertising) and more extras than you can shake a glass of scotchy scotch scotch at.


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