Title: ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’
Director: Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner and James Marsden
Paying homage to the originality of a beloved media, while also incorporating a distinctive edge while updating it into a new era, can be a difficult process. This is certainly the case with the 2004 cult classic comedy, ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,’ for which fans have long requested a sequel. The film’s main star, Will Ferrell, who co-wrote the script with frequent director Adam McKay, reunited with the filmmaker to honor the fans’ request and release the anticipated follow-up, ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,’ almost 10 years after its predecessor. While the two are usually weary of making follow-ups, fearing the element of surprise would be taken away from their jokes, the two were careful to embrace the juvenile, yet amusing, humor of the title character, who was trying to understand the emerging 24-hours news cycle of the 1980s.
Set seven years after the original film, ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ follows weekend co-anchors and spouses Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), as she’s offered the chance of a lifetime. Following the announcement of the retirement of legendary reporter Mack Tannen (Harrison Ford), he offers her the chance to be the first female news anchor in New York. When Veronica chooses the job over Ron when he offers her an ultimatum, he walks out on her and their six-year-old son and returns to San Diego.
But Ron’s luck chances six months later when he’s offered the chance of a lifetime-to be an anchor on the world’s first 24-hour news network, GNN. Ron readily accepts the offer, and rounds up his former Channel 4 news crew-sportscaster Champ Kind (David Koechner), on-the-street reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). Upon arrive in New York, Ron is quickly challenged by his strong female boss, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), Australian multi-millionaire network owner, Kench Allenby (Josh Lawson) and popular news anchor, Jack Lime (James Marsden). It’s up to Ron and his team to find their way to the top of the news and the ratings, to once again prove their value as reporters.
Ferrell and McKay were understandably reluctant to make a follow-up to their 2004 cult classic film, as the suspense of the characters’ jokes that made the first movie so entertaining and memorable would be gone. But the two smartly decided to reunite the original cast, as well as add several new characters, to examine how ever-changing times would affect the actions of the simple-mined Channel 4 news time. The two co-writers diligently worked to come up with a creative idea of paying homage to the dimwit feel of Ron and his news team that made the original film so amusing, while also creating a separate story that’s both unique and satisfying.
Ron, Champ, Brian and Brick are all still comically and characteristically immature when it comes to the crazy antics they take to adjust to their new surroundings and circumstances, such as drawing in record-breaking national ratings in their new positions at GNN. They also all still have difficulty when it comes to filtering the offensive things they say to people, such as Ron gawking over the fact they have a new black female boss in New York, which is cleverly amplified in their part of helping launch a revolutionary new network. Despite the lack of growth in Ron and his news team since they last worked together, McKay and Ferrell creatively showcased how their continued inability to fully assimilate into the news community humorously helped explain the evolution and deregulation of the broadcast news cycle.
Much like the original ‘Anchorman,’ Ferrell once again perfectly emphasized Ron’s incompetence at respectfully and accurately delivering the news. The actor amusingly showcased how Ron’s personal and professional moral standards haven’t risen since he left his local news network in San Diego and began working with Veronica in New York. Whether Ron’s innocuously warning his young son about the dangers of voodoo, or stating how he doesn’t think Jack is very good at his job, just to make himself feel better, the actor still authentically showcased how naively arrogant the newscaster has remained.
While Ferrell retained his sincerely witty relationships with Koechner, Rudd and Carell on ‘Anchorman 2,’ the actor also maintained an enthralling relationship with Applegate. The actress smartly evolved Veronica, showing how success can genuinely and positively change a person, despite the mishaps of her husband and the former Channel 4 crew. While Veronica served as an antagonist in the original film, she has come to embrace her anchor position, and is content with motherhood and marriage. While Veronica’s success has grounded her, Applegate smartly didn’t fully lose the anchorwoman’s drive to protect what’s rightfully hers, such as when Linda tries to move in on Ron.
While Ron and his news team have matured very little since appearing on News 4 in San Diego together, their continued amusing immaturity and primal instincts, which are once again shown through ‘Anchorman 2′s jokes, added comical social commentary to the launch of the 24-news cycle. The news team’s insistence of featuring human interest stories that viewers truly want to hear about reflects how the news currently still veers off from fair reporting, just to garner ratings. Ferrell and McKay creatively paid homage to the dimwit feel of Ron and his news team that made the original film so amusing. But the co-writers also created a unique story about the news team struggling to keep up with the evolution of the news, that’s both distinctive and satisfying.
Written by: Karen Benardello