'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues' Review: Watered-Down Scotchy Scotch Scotch

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'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues' Review: Watered-Down Scotchy Scotch Scotch

By Dustin Rowles | Film Reviews | December 26, 2013 | Comments ()


I didn’t want to write this review, because I feel like the asshole messenger who has to deliver bad news: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is not a great comedy. As an immense fan of the absurdly delightful original, it gives me no pleasure to reveal this. I had hoped that Adam McKay and Will Ferrell could somehow avoid the problem that plagues most comedy sequels, the “bigger, bigger, more more” issue, but sadly, it falls into the same trap. The comedy isn’t as funny as in the original, but it is voiced with more volume, and like most comedy sequels, it takes a hilarious scene-stealing character that’s great in small doses (in this case, Brick) and quickly wears out his novelty by elevating him into a co-lead.

Anchorman 2 is not a terrible comedy, however. It’s light years ahead of The Hangover sequels, and there are intermittent bursts of creativity that make the endeavor worthwhile, but there is nothing lasting in this film. It will not inspire a collection of Internet memes, it will not be quoted extensively in the years to come, and it probably won’t bring in a new generation of fans. That’s a shame, too, because Anchorman 2 didn’t feel like a sell-out project. The studio had initially rejected the sequel, the cast took pay cuts to be in it, and it was only the fanbase’s desire for a new installment, and McKay and Ferrell’s passion for the characters that finally got it off the ground.

Unfortunately, what was once fresh and original now feels stale, as the brand of comedy popularized by Anchorman has been appropriated in dozens of other comedies, not to mention Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s other collaborations, Step Brothers and The Other Guys, both of which are much better than Anchorman 2, and both of which at least attempt to graft a story onto the nonsensical punchlines.

Anchorman 2, however, doesn’t really bother with trivialities like plot, tension, or an arc. It’s mostly a series of interconnected sketches built around Ron Burgundy and Brick Tamland that occasionally work to brilliant affect, but more often than not collapse under a desperation to be outdo its own silliness. The clever inanity of the first movie, the non-sequiturs, and the foul-mouthed tangents felt surprising in the original, even a little confusing. Here, it almost feels like they’re answering a spontaneous call from fans. “Hey! Can you do that Ron Burgundy impression?” It feels forced, lacking in wit, and at times, downright Sandlerian. The satire, too, is way too on-the-nose, although at this point, making fun of cable news is almost like trying to parody The Onion. There’s nowhere left to go.

There are blissful moments, however, such as the awkward dinner scene in which Ron Burgundy painfully attempts to assimilate with a black family, and there are a few great gags, most of which you’ve already seen in the trailer. That’s part of the problem with Anchorman 2: It’s a few great sequences seemingly designed to market the movie built around an immense amount of filler. It could’ve used twenty or thirty minutes of trimming, and it wouldn’t’ have felt any more rushed than it already does in the film’s climactic scene, which was clearly written to accommodate a shitload of cameos instead of being designed to in any way service the plot (it’s completely nonsensical, and despite some very fun cameos, it’s painful to see the entire film go completely off the rails. With as many great comedians stuffed into the finale, it shouldn’t have been so completely boring).

Still, I will give credit to Anchorman 2 for being better than most studio comedies we are subjected to. The problem is, it’s not being compared to the output of Vince Vaughn or Adam Sandler or even Judd Apatow’s younger generation of man-children (Rogen, Franco, Hill, etc.). It’s being compared against the original Anchorman, and by that measure, it falls woefully short.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • BeauHajavitch

    I wonder, when Brick Tamland married Kristen Wiig's character, if he was also a 40-year old virgin.

  • Joanna Chojnacka

    Wow. Did we see a different movie? If not, how could I have such a different sense of humour from the site that I've loved since it was "Scathing Reviews for Bitchy People" (and was, basically, just movie reviews). Have we just grown different and apart?

    There were TEARS. STREAMING down my face with mirth. I was laughing almost continually every moment Brick opened his mouth. Even the child (the inevitably annoying child) was making me snort-laugh with his ridiculous cry face during "Doby." In fact, the one scene you seemed to enjoy (family dinner), I found the most painful and pointless to watch.

    Well, I guess I just can't take your word on comedies anymore, Dustin.

    With Regrets.

  • Interesting that you mention Anchorman 2 feels like it's built around a series of sketches. That's really all Step Brothers is, and it's the major reason I don't care for the film. Seems like these guys (McKay, Ferrell) don't know how to craft an actual movie. Some efforts (Anchorman, Talladega Nights) come closer than others, but they all follow the same pattern.

    Think I'll just rent this one, especially with so many compelling theater options right now.

  • cdramy

    i thought really liked it... but dustin does not like it..... i am entering a confused state....

  • And I don't care what anyone says--the last 15 minutes or so are fucking epic. No matter how lazy it seemed. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard in a theater. It was so goddamn stupid and amazing.

  • I watched this a couple of days ago and it was just a weird experience. Half the time I was wondering how it could be so boring and full of completely unnecessary plots (the plot with the boss or the whole family dinner were just AWFUL, and don't even get me started on the Lighthouse and shark plots) and the other half I was cracking the hell up and having a damn good time. It was just way too long and bloated, though, and really needed more of the News Team and less Burgundy in general.

    I have to say though, Carrell flat out stole the movie. His subplot with the girl was dumb, but holy shit every time he showed up it made me cry-laugh. I've missed Brick Tamland so much.

  • llp

    I had to actually cover my face during the family dinner scene, it was so awful and awkward. Brick, however, was so, so funny.

  • John W

    So it's not Austin Powers 2, but it's a rental.

  • Green Lantern

    I can't imagine anyone who REALLY thought that "2" was going to be as good as the first one. Frankly I have zero expectations for the sequel, and if it's even a third as funny as the first one I'll be satisfied.

    Guess I'll see when I see it.

  • anikitty

    Sandler? Oooohhhh. That's bad.

  • Joe

    Don't care, still gonna see it. Also I intentionally watched no trailers for this so the best bits were preserved.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Gee, Dustin. If I give you some money out of my wallet will you feel better?

  • pajiba


  • BlackRabbit

    I'd look for more specifics: Are they singles? Are they non-sequential?

  • Canadian money won't make you feel better.

  • pajiba

    Damnit. Can't I turn it in at Chuck-E-Cheese for a prize?

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Use it instead of Monopoly money. It's plastic thus more durable and far more colourful.

  • mike

    I had a sinking feeling this would be the case after seeing the trailer in the theater. Even worse, the portion of the dinner scene shown in the trailer was only awkward in how unfunny it was...if that scene is among the most "blissful" of the sequel...yikes.

  • Would it have been better as a series of vignettes?

  • bertinanth764

    my Aunty Mila recently got Audi Q5
    Hybrid by working parttime from a macbook... here are the findings J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Not a bad idea. Frame it as a look back on the career of or obituary for Ron Burgundy and just throw random silly crap up there as various cameos tell their crazy Ron Burgundy stories. Bonus points if one them is also a Bill Brasky story (I can't be the only one who'd want to see that).

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