I can’t say I was looking forward to this film, as I wasn’t
a fan of the original, whose reputation has grown exponentially over the past
decade. I happen to think Anchorman 2
is better than the original, which was too self-satisfied to suit my taste. That
may not be a tremendous compliment, but at a time when so many comedies try to
push the boundary lines of raunchiness as far as they can, this one deals in
another, much rarer, commodity: sheer silliness.
again plays the affable dunderhead Ron Burgundy, who gets a chance to reunite
his onetime San Diego news team: Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, and David Koechner.
To call them clueless is a mild understatement, yet they have a curious knack
for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Just don’t ask them how they did
The time is
the 1980s, when Burgundy and crew get to revive their careers as part of a
daring experiment: a 24-hour news channel, bankrolled by an Aussie
industrialist and run by a no-nonsense producer (Meagan Good) who is
unimpressed with her bungling anchorman until he starts generating high
point going into finer details of the plot; it’s just an excuse for a number of
farcical scenes and tangents. Some gags and conceits pay off better than
others: Ferrell and his writing partner Adam McKay (who also directed the
picture) are overly fond of non-sequiturs and jokes that depend on attitude
more than actual humor. Carell’s character is especially odd, just for the sake
of oddity; he meets his match in Kristen Wiig, and their scenes together are
more strange than funny.
Despite the fact that no one can
keep a secret anymore—especially not online—I won’t discuss the many cameo
appearances that add to the fun, especially in the finale. Surprise is a key
Anchorman 2 is not my preferred brand of
comedy, but I found it surprisingly watchable, with enough funny moments to
justify this long-delayed sequel. In a season laden with serious films, this is
a timely piece of counterprogramming.