Anchorman: The Legend Continues

Art & Culture

If you didn’t like (or didn’t even watch) the first Ron Burgundy film, then it is unlikely that you will be won over by the sequel, despite the fact that it has had an ocean of publicity. For my money, it is pretty silly, far too long and self indulgent, and occasionally funny, mainly because of Steve Carell.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was not much of a hit when it was released nearly ten years ago, but it has built a reputation in the intervening period, and a sequel became inevitable, though it is rare for an unsuccessful film to get a follow up. Now the fab foursome are back, doing what they do best – being idiotic.

Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is a newsreader, but not a very good one; his sidekicks are Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) and Champ Kind (David Koechner). At the beginning of the film, Burgundy is teamed up with his wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) as a pair of news readers, until he is sacked by Harrison Ford, while she on the other hand is promoted. This leads to a domestic breakup, and a slide into self pity and alcohol, before an unlikely job offer leads to the team being put back together for a gig with GNN, a new 24 hours news channel (the film is set in the early 1980s). There is some alpha male posturing between Burgundy and another newsreader, before Ron comes out on top because he decides to turn his segment into a collection of trashy TV pieces that appeal to the lowest common denominator.

However, if you imagine that this is a tough satirical movie, prepare for disappointment. The only reason for this film being made is to display Ferrell, Rudd and Carell being silly, alongside a surprisingly large number of special guests who all turn up at the end for a particularly pointless set piece. Why Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Liam Neeson, Anna Faris, Tina Fey, Sacha Baron Cohen, Kanye West and others feel the need to appear for a few seconds in someone else’s film is just one of those Hollywood mysteries.

The trouble with films like this is that they simply a series of unconnected scenes, designed to attract a quick laugh or 2, before moving on to the next. There’s no real care taken with the script, or the editing; just get a quick chuckle and move on. Since I have a preference for character-based films, this is something of a disappointment. There is one bright spot in the film, which is the developing relationship between Carell’s Brick and Kristen Wiig’s Chani, who are a match made in heaven, being as odd a couple as you could ever wish to meet. They gaze at each other out of their mutual weirdness and see a kindred spirit. The rest of the film is moderately amusing as each character behaves in an entirely predictable way, being boorish, sexist, racist or downright stupid, before everything comes right in the end.

The audience I was with laughed a lot, though people who go to comedies tend to do that, on the basis that if they’ve paid their money, they should laugh. I suspect it will be not be as big a hit as Paramount hopes, despite the publicity that has been generated (you can always tell when they’re pushing the boat out – all the stars do lots of interviews). It’s Ok, but it’s a long way from memorable.


Phil Raby

Front Row Films

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