‘Anchorman 2’ not as great as the first

View­ers of the first An­chor­man movie un­der­stand why Ron Bur­gundy is “kind of a big deal.”

Back in the sum­mer of 2004, Will Fer­rell in­tro­duced us to one of his most pop­u­lar char­ac­ters, the chau­vin­ist San Diego an­chor­man Ron Bur­gundy.

Well, after a long, nearly 10-year break since the first movie, Bur­gundy is back in a new set­ting — the Big Apple. An­chor­man 2: The Le­gend Con­tin­ues picks things up with Ron (Fer­rell) and his lovely wife Veron­ica Corn­ing­stone (Christina Ap­pleg­ate), who are mar­ried and co-an­chor­ing the na­tion­al news in NYC.

When Veron­ica gets a pro­mo­tion and Ron gets fired, things come tum­bling down for Ron. His mar­riage crumbles and he ends up back in his ho­met­own of San Diego un­hap­pily work­ing at Sea World.

However, it’s 1980 and Aus­trali­an multi-mil­lion­aire Kench Al­lenby (Josh Lawson) is about to launch the world’s first 24-hour cable news net­work.

Ron’s been tapped to work for GNN (Glob­al News Net­work) and gladly ac­cepts. He re­unites with his San Diego news bud­dies who had moved on to oth­er ca­reers, in­clud­ing sports guy Champ Kind (Dav­id Koech­ner), re­port­er Bri­an Fantana (Paul Rudd) and dim-wit­ted weather­man Brick Tam­land (Steve Carell).

There’s some funny stuff at GNN from Ron’s be­wil­der­ment at his black fe­male boss Linda Jack­son (Mea­gan Good) to a rivalry with an­oth­er an­chor, Jack Lime (Jason Marsden). And there’s plenty of knocks at the idea of 24-hour news and the shift from real news to in­fotain­ment.

Fit­tingly, since Steve Carell is a much big­ger star now than he was 10 years ago, Brick’s role has been ex­pan­ded. This was a wel­come change for me, as I think Brick’s ran­dom com­ments (i.e. “I love lamp”) made for some pretty funny mo­ments in the first movie. This time, he gets a love in­terest, the sim­il­arly dim Chani (Kristen Wiig), who also works at GNN.

There is a ri­dicu­lous side plot with Ron once again leav­ing NYC in the middle of the movie that makes things start to feel long. It was really just too dumb for me, even know­ing the movie is known for dumb hu­mor. I found my­self be­com­ing rest­less and dis­in­ter­ested to­ward the end (ba­sic­ally after the hil­ari­ous scene that’s chock full of cameos). Dir­ec­ted by Adam McKay and co-writ­ten by McKay and Fer­rell, maybe they should have chopped the script down to 90 minutes as op­posed to stretch­ing things to two hours.

Un­for­tu­nately, there was not enough of Christina Ap­pleg­ate. The banter between Ron and Veron­ica in the first movie made for some of the fun­ni­est and most quot­able mo­ments. That is sadly miss­ing this time.

An­chor­man is still funny after re­peated view­ings. I’m not if the same will be true for An­chor­man 2: The Le­gend Con­tin­ues. That said, fans of the first movie will find a lot to en­joy about An­chor­man 2. Yes, it’s some­what of a re­hash­ing of the first movie. And no, it’s not really quot­able, but the act­ors, Fer­rell in par­tic­u­lar, do a great job. Fer­rell’s shtick can be really hit-or-miss, but this time it’s a hit. ••

Movie Grade: B+

You can reach at shorbrook@bsmphilly.com.

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