Dissecting Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Anchorman 2 HeaderAnchorman 2: The Legend Continues doesn’t live up to original, but might have the potential to grow on future viewings; much like its predecessor.

Lauren: Send your incredulous gasps of horror my way, along with a trident hungry for my blood, but I have to say it: the first time I saw Anchorman I may have thought people were overreacting with all the love and panties thrown at Ron Burgundy. It was funny, but goodness… How dare you quote it more than Mean Girls!

I eventually warmed up to San Diego’s hottest news team, and can often be heard telling people how incapable I am of understanding Spanish, but I’m afraid that this lack of an immediate outpouring of love might have affected my viewing of the sequel. Will it take me a while to fully enjoy this sequel as well? Or is it actually just not as good?

Zac: I think, both. It’s not as good of a comedy, but McKay and Farrell are going for something more here that is worth celebrating as well. The middle finger they give to the media their lampooning, and the idiots that buy into it, is applause worthy, and I am sure they will even offend a number of viewers that walk into the theater. Is this stuff always funny?  No, but I love that these guys sneak this message into the year’s biggest comedy.

Papa Burgundy and his friends are still plenty funny here, but I think the misses standout here far more than they do in the first film. The Brick romance with Kristen Wiig is DOA, a couple of extended bits go on a bit too long in the back half of the film, and a number of jokes feel abandoned right in the middle of a scene. The over focus on Burgundy also seems to get away from the series’ strong point, its cast, and feels like even less of an ensemble than the first.

Lauren: I love Kristen Wiig so much, but I knew going in that another Brick wasn’t going to do anything but detract from the one we already have, who spends most of the film saying his lines in a yelling manner, unless he is actually just yelling indistinguishable jumbles of words.  He still has some great lines littered throughout, but this relationship and down-step to the randomness of this character just seems like a good example of how the film is worse off for trying to improve what they did with the first film.

Another problem was just the recycling of the story behind what I agree is a great jab at the state of news and the media. Around this undercurrent is a whole new string of forced conflict and competition between Burgundy and Corningstone, as well as the new hotshot of the 24 hour news network, Jack Lime, repeating the drive of the first film before finally stepping into something different.  I could have also done without Burgundy’s relationship with his new African and American boss; but hey, if you need to throw in an awkward family dinner with a self-labeled Mexican man failing to assimilate with her family… Then do what you gotta (unnecessarily) do.

If there is one positive that comes out of the split in the Burgundy/Corningstone marriage, it is that we get a pretty great character with Greg Kinnear’s psychologist boyfriend.  Seriously, if that ponytail isn’t enough, just wait for the payoff at the end within one phenomenal scene that just keeps getting better and better as it escalates.  This callback to the news team rumble in the streets is what will probably end up convincing me to make the Anchorman 2 purchase down the road, when it’s much cheaper. That, and the cat photography.  The loss of the rest will not trap me in a glass case of emotion of any kind.

Zac: I think they succeeded at blowing out Brick as he was significantly more funny than not outside the romance stuff, but outside his beefed up role everyone else got a bit too diminished.

All this negativity makes me sound like I didn’t enjoy the film, I was laughing and smiling throughout, even in the slow bits, but it just never really hit on a level that the first one did for me. I really feel like the director’s cut could be the better version of this film this time around; McKay has been very public about the amount of cuts MPAA had them make, but I am hopeful repeat viewings will help this grow on me like all of McKay’s films have.

It is hard not feeling a little disappointed in a follow up to one of the better studio comedies of this young century, but any fans of the original will surely find something to like this time out.

Zac’s Final Grade: B-
Lauren’s Final Grade: C+      

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