“Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention? I’ve just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story. And I need all of you to stop what you’re doing and listen.”
Anchorman boasts a level of popular culture importance and immortality that very few comedies could ever hope to possess. Back when it was released in 2004, I had to apologise profusely to the other cinema patrons due to my uncontrollable and incessant laughing fits. I stopped breathing. Many times. Arguably the most quotable film of all time, Anchorman is the only film that I could recite word for word, backwards and in Spanish. Now after 9 long years of industry speculation and fanboy clamouring, I’m proud to announce that everyone’s favourite man-child journalist, with his killer moustache and Monty Python-esque antics has returned to the silver screen with his salon-quality hair mostly in tact.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues finds Ron Burgundy (a relentlessly committed Will Ferrell) and Veronica Corningstone (a strangely subdued Christina Applegate) separated after their news station shakes things up by promoting her and unceremoniously firing him. Drunk, depressed and suicidal (in the most hilarious of ways), Ron finds his second wind when he’s offered a new role at GNN – an experimental 24-hour news network in New York City. Charged with the task of making the news entertaining and relevant again, Ron reunites the whole zany and lovably idiotic squad. Back for the ride is sports aficionado and overall weirdo Champ ‘Whamy’ Kind (David Koechner), the sweet dullard of a weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) and the self-confessed ladykiller Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd).
Director and co-writer Adam McKay is still interested in satirising both the time period and the news industry itself. This time out, instead of parodying gender ethics in the work place, McKay and Ferrell take aim at the over saturation of competitive, ratings-craving, executively-run news stations. Oddly enough, some of the raw self-assessment and idealist notions made by Mr Burgundy hits an unexpected level of poignancy. It was a strange, yet welcome sight to see Ron finally make sense (even if it does seems out of character), while resembling a buffoonish version of Jeff Daniels in HBO’s The Newsroom.
Though not as much of a breaking news revelation or as instantly quotable as its predecessor, Anchorman 2 does deliver droves of nonsensical laughs and hysterically awkward situations that should do more than please returning fans and possibly win over new converts. While I will refrain from spoiling the punchlines to the jokes – I will say that Steve Carell’s silly courtship of Kristen Wiig, Ron’s relationship with a shark and his inability to cope with a temporary loss of sight had my sides splitting. Anchorman 2 might have also set a world record for the most flat out bonkers cameo sequence in the history of cinema.
Even with some recycled jokes and the odd sequence that doesn’t quite hit its mark, the laughs-per-minute ratio is lightyears beyond what most Hollywood comedies offer up these days.
It’s a joy to see these old friends reunite for the fun of it and not for a paycheque. Their subverted brand of inspired lunacy has been sorely missed.
Long live the legend of Ron Burgundy and may we always remember that milk was a bad choice.