It’s not easy to make a great sequel and I think it’s even harder to make a great comedy sequel. So much of comedy has to do with the element of surprise, with characters and situations being fresh, that it’s all that much harder to go back to the well for a second round. Then again, running gags and familiarity can have their own rewards, so it’s not impossible to make it work.
So what’s the verdict on this here “Anchorman” sequel? Well, it’s good, if not great. It made me laugh quite a bit, though not as much as the first movie. But since that Will Ferrell vehicle happens to be a personal favorite, I didn’t really expect the sequel to be as good, let alone better. In any case, what I can say is that it’s fun to catch up with the arrogantly incompetent Ron Burgundy who, as the film begins, has relocated to New York with wife and co-anchor Veronica (Christina Applegate).
But when she gets promoted and he gets fired, our news-reading hero leaves her and returns to San Diego, where he once again hits rock bottom… Until he’s recruited by what’s destined to be the first 24-hour news channel to go back to doing what he does best: “have salon-quality hair and read the news.” So after getting the old gang back together – Brian (Paul Rudd), Champ (David Koechner) and Brick (Steve Carell), Ron hits the Big Apple once again with only one thing on his mind: becoming #1 again and, most importantly, beating his ex in the ratings!
If you’re at all familiar with “Anchorman” and with the other movies co-written by Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay (“Talladega Nights”, “Step Brothers”, “The Other Guys”), you know that the plot is generally just an excuse to put together a series of increasingly absurd situations.
There’s a satire of what the media has become in there, exemplified by a line like “Why do we have to tell the people what they need to hear? Why don’t we tell them what they want to hear?” and the subsequent way Burgundy and his team deliver ever more sensationalist news, which unsurprisingly makes them super successful. There’s also a rather trite subplot about Ron needing to spend more time with his young son, as well as a love affair between him and his new boss Linda (Meagan Good), who happens to be black.
But again, those are just excuses to sort of move the story along while all kind of crazy shit happens. I could go ahead and spoil a bunch of it for you, but what would be the point? All I’ll say is that some of it is hilarious, while some of it falls flat. “Anchorman 2” is definitely a hit and miss affair, but with ultimately more hits than misses.