“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” has aged gracefully since it opened in 2004, to the point that many now consider it a classic American comedy.
The same crew is back for seconds in “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” and darned if they’re not still impressive.
“Anchorman 2” is familiar, absurd and one of the year’s funniest films. It’s uneven, to be sure, and there are cringe-worthy jokes that totally and completely miss their mark. Fortunately, there are also huge belly laughs that effectively cover the blemishes.
The sequel picks up with legendary news reader Ron Burgundy and his one-time rival, now wife, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) serving as co-anchors for a network show. Things, however, spiral out of control when Ron gets fired — until a startup 24-hour cable news channel comes along and offers to bring him, and his whole crew, aboard.
Set in 1980, when the real CNN began, “Anchorman 2” satirizes the TV news industry a bit, but mostly it just dials up the silliness.
Ron carefully puts together his old San Diego news team: sex-crazed reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), who is working as a cat photographer; bombastic sports guy Champ Kind (David Koechner), who owns a fast food restaurant serving fried chicken-ish products; and brainless weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), who has passed away.
Together they take New York by storm, sort of, earning the 2 a.m. slot on the new station, owned by an Aussie billionaire (Josh Lawson) and run by a sexy black woman (Meagan Good).
While Ron and friends buck the odds to reach greatness, a few new key characters are mixed in: Kristen Wiig falls surprisingly flat as Chani, a romantic and intellectual match for Brick. Greg Kinnear is a psychologist and rival for Veronica’s affection. James Marsden is a flashy and incredibly handsome anchorman who clashes with Ron.
Then, of course, there are seemingly dozens of cameos — must be virtually everyone Ferrell knows in Hollywood — popping up briefly, particularly in a climactic battle royale that does complete justice to the legendary newsman fight from the original film.
“Anchorman 2” doesn’t break any new ground, but it covers familiar turf very effectively. It’s hard to imagine too many “Anchorman” fans will be disappointed.
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Rental Recommendation: Really, you should have watched it first, but it’s never a bad idea to watch the original “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.”
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Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Steve Carell.
Rated: PG-13 (crude humor, profanity, drugs, adult themes).
Running time: 119 minutes.