Will Ferrell is Ron Burgundy. Naturally, Ferrell should be honored to portray Burgundy – at least that’s what Ron would tell us all in as straight a self serving face as possible. Ron urges us all to stay classy, but in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, sequel to his now cult favorite flick, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, there’s less class, more crass, but also, unfortunately, less laughs.
Ferrell excels in vehicles which allow him to spread his finely honed, improvisational comedic chops. As one of the stand out players on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, he polished those comic instincts in writing and performing much of the more memorable material of his and his co-star’s SNL tenure. In his George W. Bush riffs alone, Ferrell solidified an iconic take on the Republican President which has never been properly challenged. It was such classic comic gold, it led to Ferrell performing a show of Bush on Broadway in the rib tickling, You’re Welcome America. A Final Night With George W Bush.
Maybe Ferrell could have snuck Bush in Anchorman 2 somehow, because it could use the comic juice. Times when you’re pretty sure Ferrell is riffing an adlib is usually joyous, unfortunately they don’t come as much as we’d like. Ultimately, it’s a mixed bag of really hilarious bits, fun cameos & other surprises – while the actual story lulls to a drag in places.
Granted, both the first and this one doesn’t need an Oscar caliber narrative or screenplay, but with all the silly fun, solid grounding is necessary. Do we really need a bad guy who owns GNN (the cable news network Ron works at) and a corporate scandal to conflict with the ethics of honest journalism? Thankfully, more time is given to James Marsden as Ron’s news rival. He’s the pitch perfect egotistical Jack Lime and a funnier foe. Sadly, the whole sub-plot with Steve Carrell’s Brick romancing a from another planet dunce Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) is more annoying to searingly embarrassing than funny – a real waste of two truly great comedians. WTF moments abound here, but not in a good way.
The flick’s soundtrack is excellent. It uses music to highlight comic bits and move transitions between scenes so exceedingly well – some may want to buy the soundtrack faster than picking up the DVD or Blu-Ray. As a period piece moving from somewhere in the mid to late 1970’s to early 1980’s, the musical choice and implementation is one of the production’s real triumphs.
With the return of Christina Applegate as Ron’s true love, Veronica Corningstone, and Ron’s TV news posse of Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell and David Koechner, the film will surely please diehard Ron Burgundy lovers, but even they may groan at the more than one dumb moment that grinds the flick to a frustrating stall. Still, with Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues having so much laugh generating talent in front of the camera, and also behind it – Judd Apatow is a producer – there’s plenty of gut busting moments to make it a really fun rental