Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Review

Comedy films, especially modern comedy films, face the eternal dilemma; how to stretch an exciting premise and/or characters into a feature length film? Harder still; if the original throw of the dice works, how do you then extend it out for a second outing? Was the original success down to a serendipitous meeting of time, script and cast?

In the case of the outlandish news team of Burgundy et al, there is plenty of audience goodwill hoping for this sequel to chime the bells of success.

The story covers Ron as he heads out on the road to round up his old team. An offer has come in to be part of a new concept – the 24-hour news channel. After initially scoffing at the idea (get the vague hint of satire here?), he is soon won round. He is all primed, prepped and ready for his 2am slot. It doesn’t help that he quickly gets embroiled in a rivalry with a colleague; primetime slot golden boy, Jack Lime (James Marsden). A ratings war soon beckons before a third act involving blindness, a lighthouse and an orphaned shark. Yes, really.

If you were not a fan the first time round, you may well be pleasantly surprised. That’s if you can forgive the occasional slips into tasteless comedy (some racist and misogynistic quips sneak in when they really should have been left on the cutting room floor). There are moments of invention and genuine hilarity. If you are already a fan, then it is safe to say you’ll no doubt intend to see this no matter what we or anyone has to say anyway.

As the outline indicates, much of the plot, no matter how knowing and self-aware, is a little hackneyed. It certainly would not need the predictive leanings of the Mayans or Nostradamus to anticipate where the narrative will steer come the close. That’s not the joy of this type of feature though. It rests in the jokes that make up the journey. And although uneven, the sheer frequency of the gags ensures that any bum notes are lost amongst the ones that strike gold.

Add to that a climactic scene that is truly bonkers – a plethora of famous names and faces crop up in a particularly surreal final battle scene (we won’t ruin the surprise by sharing their names) – and you have something of a satisfying sequel.

It is hard to think of any comedy film stretching beyond the 80-90 minute range that is considered a classic. At 2 hours long, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues doesn’t change that. It is overlong. It does need trimming. With that said, it is equipped with enough spark to please. It will also guarantee plenty of chuckles. This mob has lost none of their peculiarly unique brand of charm, wit and irreverence. It’s good to have them back.

 

About The Author

Having upped sticks and marched down the A13 from Essex into the smog of London, Greg can be found ranting and raging as the Film Correspondent on the Jon Gaunt Show from time to time and also on his weekly 'The Film Review' podcast (plug alert - available on iTunes and Audioboom). Aside from Front Row Reviews, he also scribbles regularly for HeyUGuys. Lowlights, thus far, have been John Hurt scolding with the question 'do you really think like that?', upsetting acclaimed filmmaker Ondi Timoner with his piece for the Sunday Mirror and falling out with the blog editor of the Huffington Post. Oh, and he did bring Liv Ullmann to tears (but in a good way... more of a highlight, that one). He can also be found writing on theatre and music for the Islington Gazette, Ham & High, Hackney Gazette, Bargain Theatre, SupaJam and others. He's often moaning about how tired he is, and he's a frustrated musician.

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