Movie: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Rating: 3 Stars (out of 5)
Review: In the tradition of no holds barred and anything goes comedies, Anchorman 2 follows in the footsteps of movies like Blazing Saddles and Airplane. Be prepared to strap yourself in, and be bombarded with a non-stop stream of sight gags and free wheeling dialogue that is hit and miss as far as being funny, but enough hits the mark throughout the movie to make you chortle and want to keep watching. In fact, it’s kind of like watching a train wreck in slow motion; you can’t help but watch to see how it all turns out.
Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) starts off the movie as a local ace anchorman, convinced he’s on top of his game and about to get a national anchorman gig. He’s married to Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), and all is right in his world. Until his boss Mack Tannen (Harrison Ford) calls him into the office and abruptly cans him, causing Bergundy’s world to fall apart. His marriage over, reduced to schilling acts at Sea World, he makes a lame and unsuccessful attempt to hang himself from a light fixture.
But this is the 1980s, and a new concept is born: the first 24 hour news channel Global News Network (GNN)! Bodies are needed to man this ambitious enterprise, so Ron Burgundy and his team (Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner) are brought in as cannon fodder to fill the 2-5 AM shift. Desperate to break out of the pack and get ratings, Burgundy comes up with a novel approach to the news when he states, “Why do we have to give people what they need to see? Why can’t we give them what they want to see”? Which ushered in a frenzy of gonzo television with quick sport clips, freakish weather scenes, and lead stories being reduced to following a live car chase. Naturally, the ratings soared for Burgundy’s news team, and he becomes a national icon. Burgundy’s production boss, played by Dylan Baker, summed it up succinctly when be cheerfully proclaimed, “It’s total crap, and they can’t stop watching it”!
Ron Burgundy begins to reap the rewards of success. In addition to TV news awards, his boss Linda Jackson (Meagan Good) pretty much throws herself at her top news man and begins a torrid affair. Since Jackson is African-American, we get a quick montage of interracial firsts while they are in the throes of passion, including a quick cut of Jackie Robinson playing baseball, and Captain Kirk planting the first interracial network kiss on Uhura.
Then things go south pretty quickly. After a bizarre accident leads to blindness, an overly long scenario plays out where Burgundy goes into seclusion to live with his blindness. This segment is easily the low point of the film on several levels. But then sight is restored, and Burgundy returns triumphant! His marriage is saved, and all is well. Family is now his number one priority, and Burgundy is on his way to watch his son’s piano recital as a doting father should. But wait, just before he can make it to the recital hall, Burgundy is delayed by the weirdest and most non-sensical rumble in the park ever seen in film history. I’ll leave out the details, but somehow the director enlisted Tint Fey, Amy Poehler, Liam Neeson, Marion Cotillard, Kirsten Dunst, John C. Reilly, Vince Vaughn, Sacha Baron Cohen, Will Smith and Jim Carrey to show up in uncredited cameos to participate in a highly entertaining brouhaha. And yes, Burgundy’s son plays the piano like a young Van Cliburn.
Huh? What the …. : Prepare to be mesmerized by an accident where Ron Burgundy and his news team are tooling down the highway in a motorhome that rolls off the highway, causing people and objects to fly willy-nilly around the interior. What is unusual is it all happens in very slo-mo action sequence. Also, there are objects in play you wouldn’t expect to see, including a bowling ball, and boiling grease from a French fry machine. But don’t worry, as they say on the news, no one got hurt….
Actor to Watch: Baxter, the Burgundy family dog. He drinks soda out of a straw, and saves Burgundy from Dobie, the shark.
Dialogue Nuggets: Young child at SeaWorld yells “Children and animals hate you, Ron Burgundy”! Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) said he was “Going bowling with OJ Simpson, Phil Spector and Robert Blake. We call our team The Ladykillers”.
Post Credit Stuff: Yes, but it is not worth staying for. Unless you want to see a chocolate chip cookie get eaten….