Famous anchorman Ron Burgundy lost his job and his girl all at once, but he’s given a new chance when he’s offered a job at a crazy new 24-hour news channel.
Adam McKay, 2013
Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is living the dream: he’s married to co-anchor Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) and anchoring the news in New York. But when Veronica is offered a promotion while Ron is fired, he forces her to choose between him and the job. Veronica takes the job and Ron washes out, dropping all the way back to San Diego where he presents a dolphin show at SeaWorld. Soon he’s offered a new job at an experimental 24-hour news channel, so he gets the old team together – cowboy sports anchor Champ (David Koechner), playboy field reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), and thick weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). At the new station, they’re shocked to find that their boss is a Black woman, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), with whom Ron finds himself inexplicably romantically entangled. Ron and his team reinvent the news by trying to make it “fun”, changing the face of newscasting forever, but after Ron’s meteoric rise tragedy befalls the anchorman and he must put the pieces of his life back together while trying to connect with his son.
As with the first Anchorman movie, the jokes are hit and miss, though there might not be as many quotables from this second effort. There’s a lot of adlibbing, which makes some scenes seem to drag on while others are hilarious. Meagan Good has the potential to be funny but is given nothing to do (in one case apologising to Ron for an incident in which he was incredibly racist, which seemed to be the step too far for the cinema I was in). As in the first film, most of the best laughs come from Steve Carell as the almost-too-stupid-to-survive Brick, joined in this film by a champion effort from Kristen Wiig as his love interest Chani, who can’t figure out how phones work. They come up with some brilliant non-sequiteurs. The returning actors are clearly very comfortable in their characters’ skins, so a lot of the humour that does come through is organic and genuine. The plot, however, tries to tie together too many elements without sticking to a common theme; there’s an idea of choosing family and friends over work that only occasionally comes across. They seem to have cut the most of the subplot of a diversifying workplace that features in the trailer, so the racist jokes just come across as, you know, pointlessly racist.
This movie has cameos from pretty much every comedic actor working in Hollywood, as well as some that aren’t traditionally comedic; as with the first film, there is an epic battle of the networks that takes on mythic proportions and features everyone under the sun. It also has great supporting turns from Josh Lawson, an actual Australian playing an Australian character (gasp!) in Kench Allenby, a Rupert Murdoch/Richard Branson-esque billionaire media mogul. Personal favourite James Marsden is also a hilarious jerk as Ron’s nemesis Jack Lime. The movie is jam packed with characters who could do with more attention than Ron Burgundy, whose shtick gets pretty old by the end of this film, especially if you watch the first one again like I did. There’s some fun with the 70s setting, particularly in the news team’s wardrobe and apartment. I laughed often enough to say I enjoyed it, and these guys are better at this kind of character-based sketch comedy than pretty much anyone else around, but they need some fresh ideas if they’re going to bring Burgundy back for a third installment.