Anchorman 2: Verdict still out if comedy will lasting impression

Ben Conniff

This review contains spoilers.

Grandiosity and bombast have been the name of the game in 2013 for major studio productions. This past summer brought us perfect examples with Pacific Rim and Man of Steel. The Hobbit could be considered another, more recent culprit. It’s as if everyone’s just demanding more special effects, more destruction, more gunfights, more, more, more… But for Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 news team, more [of the same] ain’t such a bad thing – especially not after nine long years.

The 70s are now a thing of the past, and what lies ahead is the dawn of 24-hour cable news. Leaving San Di-AH-go behind them, the Channel 4 news team (Will Ferrell, David Koechner, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell) moves to New York City to begin work at Global News Network – headed by the feisty Linda Jackson (Meagan Good). In their time spent together at GNN, Ron and his cohorts haphazardly reinvent the standards of broadcast journalism.  

Sure, a handful of jokes can be written off as shameless retreads (Brian Fantana’s cache of cologne is now a collection of condoms / another news team battle) but there’s more than enough original material to make up for it. As much as I hoped deep down for another a capella version of a classic rock song, I’m glad that the singing, if there really needed to be any, is relegated to an original song. Ferrell sings a sweeping rendition of “Doby” as he laments the departure of his pet shark. Additionally, Kristen Wiig brings a fun dimension as Brick Tamland’s muse.  

I also noticed a stronger plot at work here than in the previous Anchorman film. While the sequel manages to maintain less of the first movie’s looseness, Ferrell and director/co-writer Adam McKay lace a sharp commentary on the current state of cable news into their story here. By the condescending frown of Bill O’Reilly!

The amount of surprise celebrity cameos greatly out-tallies the first Anchorman, and it gets a little absurd when some of them are introduced. It starts to become less of a gimmick and more of an annoyance when Kanye West shows up wearing a Jheri curl or when Harrison Ford turns into a werewolf. But with the amount of quality players involved, it’s hard not to have fun with each of their different parts. 

Anchorman 2 is just as funny as it’s riotous predecessor. Time will tell if it’s as quotable, however.