Ron Burgundy is an idiot. You would know that even if you didn’t see 2004’s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” because in the push to get people to watch the sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, he demonstrated his idiocy in Durango commercials and every late night talk show that would have him. Reporter, Brian Fontana (Paul Rudd, “All is Bright”), and sportscaster, Champ Kind (David Koechner, “Piranha 3DD”), aren’t far behind their fearless newsroom leader on the intelligence scale. Weatherman, Brick Tamland (Steve Carell, “The Way Way Back”), well, he is light-years ahead of them all.
But in stupidity can come a moment of brilliance. That diamond idea that no one thought of because it is, you know, too stupid to succeed. Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell, “The Campaign”) has such an idea at his new gig at the revolutionary Global News Network. Sensationalized, America-is-the-greatest country-in-all-the-world faux news. That, however, is just one of many plot points in this overdue sequel that, unfortunately, misses more than hits.
It misses mostly because Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues casts aside Champ and Brian after their initial reintroductions (Champ runs a fast-food joint that serves bats instead of chicken; Brian photographs cats), gives Brick a half-baked love story arc with an equally socially-inept co-worker Chani (Kristen Wiig, “Bridesmaids”), and over-relies on the titular character to shout his lines and purposely utter quotable witticisms for audience regurgitation. This latter method may have worked wonders for laughs the first time but it stales rather quickly even though a nine year hiatus sits between films.
Of course some of the situations he finds himself in are damn funny. Although the movie would have been served better with an R-rating, Adam McKay (who also directed) and Ferrell still manage to write in material that’s “good-natured” offensive and silly. In one, Burgundy, who now finds himself in an interracial relationship with his boss (the always attractive Meagan Good, “The Love Guru”), is a fish out of water when she brings him home to have dinner with the family. In another, Burgundy displays his flamboyant side with flashes of figure skating, flute playing prowess during a victory party dedicated to, whom else but, himself.
Ferrell is obviously extremely comfortable in the perfectly mustached role so much so that one could venture a guess that even though he helped write the script of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues much of what he says is ad-libbed. The rest of the returning cast slip into their respective personas equally well, but as mentioned before Rudd and Koechner sit on the sidelines for much of the show, while Carell, whose acting star has risen considerably since the first film, let’s everyone know it with his expanded part. The newcomers bring a nice shot of adrenaline to the comedy — Good basically replacing Applegate (who is also relegated to the sideline) as the power-playing career woman and James Marsden (“2 Guns”) as anchorman Jack Lime, the new newsroom antagonist replacing Wes Mantooth.
Also, like its predecessor, keep an eye out for some great cameos from some unexpected actors.
It’s too bad they’re weighted at the ass end, though. At 119 minutes, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues runs 30 minutes too long and because several of the subplots don’t hit their highs it can feel even longer. Still, there is enough foolishness to please most viewers (especially those who submitted online petitions to get this made). After nine years between stints in front of the teleprompter, however, the seasoned Burgundy and team should have been able to deliver a better broadcast.