Overview: Ron Burgundy’s San Diego news team reunites in New York in the 1980s to compete with Veronica Corningstone’s evening news with a bold new idea—a 24 hour cable news network. Paramount; 2013; Rated PG-13; 119 Minutes.
Sigh: You know those feelings you get when someone at work retells the same sorta funny story so those who were out of the room can hear it? Or that heavy disappointment when you’ve bought tickets to see a live comedian and five minutes into the show, you realize he is just using the jokes he told on his HBO special? Well, Adam McKay and Will Ferrell either don’t know those feelings or they have chosen to ignore them when writing and filming Anchorman 2.
The Same Jokes: The bear is now a shark. Baxter still talks. Ron and his team once again react awkwardly to being challenged by a woman, now a black woman. The back alley brawl is now a full on war zone providing an opportunity for a dozen wasted cameos. Vernica Corningstone is still fiercely independent. Champ Kind is still loud and dumb. Brian Fantana is still misogynistic, handsome, and dumb. Brick Tamland is still the dumbest. Ron Burgundy is still Will Ferrell, who has, since the original Anchorman, made a fortune and a legacy by being dumb. Brick still has a trident and that’s still a non-sequitur. Oh, and speaking of non-sequiturs, they are still very much non-sequitur.
The New Jokes: The RV crash is so outrageous, I had to wonder if it were maybe one of those inside, South Park-type meta-jokes, wherein the stars and director attempted to stretch the gag so thin that no one would be left laughing at the end. Brick Tamland lands himself a love interest named Chani, played by Kristen Wiig, and the movie calls several timeouts so that these two can stare dumbly at each other while competing to see who can make the most arbitrary statements. Wiig is usually my favorite when it comes to funny cameos, but here, she falls flat. Steve Carrell, incidentally, has fallen back on his old delivery format, holding his breath and shouting his funny lines in one quick exhalation.
Overall: The nostalgic pleasure of being back in Burgundy’s universe make the first fifteen minutes nice. After that, well, Paul Rudd, Rob Corddry, Carrell, and Ferrell are all naturally funny guys, so they earn some laughs. The whole of the product, however, just stands as another example of why sequels to comedic masterpieces, more often than not, only scar the brilliance of the first effort.