It doesn't live up to the brilliance of the original, but it comes close.
The problem with producing a sequel is that it's a gamble. You either create something that lives up to – or exceeds past – the original material (The Empire Strikes Back, for example) or you have something that just lies there, with very little to redeem it (looking at you, The Mummy Returns – yep, it stunk). With Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the crew thankfully leans more towards the former, although there's obviously no way director Adam McKay and his crew could overcome the looniness of the original. Instead, Will Ferrell and the gang simply try to fit back into the groove it created nine years ago with its 70's newscaster crew – and, for the most part, it works.
I say it works because, while there are some jokes that wear out their welcome, there are several other good ones that more than make up for it. For every small dry stretch of, "OK, why is this here?", we get a complete moment of lunacy that we can't help but laugh at – like when Brick (Steve Carell) freaks out by a green screen when his legs disappear on the monitor. (It's because he's wearing the same color pants as the screen.)
Anyway, the story. Will Ferrell returns as Ron Burgundy, a chauvinistic but handsome newscaster who's settled into a life with his wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). They even have a son that's about six years old. However, a small problem at work soon drives the two apart, and shortly thereafter – after a ridiculous stop at Sea World – Burgundy finds himself heading to New York City with his crew to take on the first 24-hour news channel.
That means picking up Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), who's moved on from editorial to taking pictures of kittens; Champ (David Koechner), who's opened a fast food restaurant that serves "chicken of the cave," i.e. bats; and Brick, who's apparently died, but not really. Their trip in an RV is actually hilarious, mainly due to their loopy conversation and misunderstanding of how "cruise control" works.
Upon arriving in the city, Ferrell meets a new rival in Jack Lime (James Marsden, doing a great job), as well as his boss (Meagan Good) who he greets in pure offensive fashion. You'll see what we mean.
From there, McKay does a good job with the minimal story that's here, jabbing fun at the real news networks that are creating such hubbub out there, while keeping plenty of laughs in mind.
Again, the film does drag a bit. During one sequence where Burgundy tries to overcome an injury, it goes a bit into schmaltz territory while trying to keep up the laughs, and it doesn't entirely work. Thankfully, it gets back on tempo pretty quick, and creates yet another newscaster superbrawl that, while not topping the first one, still brings on a series of welcome – and surprising – cameos. Won't spoil here, but you'll like what you see – especially if you remember Stonewall Jackson.
The cast does a great job refilling their roles. Ferrell continues to do great as the pompous Burgundy, who's so oblivious at times he can't tell when he's brushing his teeth with a lobster; Rudd and Koecher's roles are secondary at best, but they have their moments, like Brian's fascination with specialized condoms ("This one's made of denim") and Champ's disturbing fried chicken commercial; and Carell once again shines as the clueless Brick, who develops a fun, quirky romance with a dunce of a secretary (Kristen Wiig, good fun). She's a perfect fit, as she's afraid to answer the phone and sends her bosses' messages by mail. No, actual mail. So, of course, Brick feels obliged to take her to his favorite soda machine.
The movie does eventually run a bit out of gas by the end, but there are still a lot of laughs to be had before getting to that point. That's better than we've seen in most sequels as of late, so Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues earns a pass. Ferrell and his crew continue to hold up well after almost a decade, and although not his best film, McKay avoids being the one-trick pony and serves up a pleasurable, if not perfect, sequel.
I just wish it was more quotable, though. So far the thing I've been saying most is, "Sorry!" in a Canadian tone.
RATING: 7.5 (out of 10)
Score: 7.5 / 10