It’s been a very long time coming, but is it worth that wait?
Thankfully it absolutely is, whilst it doesn’t quite reach the sensationally humorous heights of it’s predecessor and there are more than a few misses in the jokes department, the film comes out on top.
Having loved the first Anchorman, watching it time and time again throughout my teens, the thought of getting back into the wonderful world of Will Ferrell’s exuberant ‘Ron Burgundy’ was something that filled me with anxious excitement. Could it get me laughing as uncontrollably as the original or would I end up disappointed? I was therefore exceptionally pleased when the belly laughs kicked in from the start, Ron’s initial fall from grace that sets the story is orchestrated in traditional Anchorman style with a mix of overtly silly and an overtone of darkness.
The story really gets going and the laughs keep flowing when Ron, now employed at the ‘Global News Network’ needs to put his news team back together. We’re reintroduced to all of the favourites from the original in varying scenarios showing what’s happened since Burgundy moved on to Manhattan. Champ (David Koechner) now runs his own ‘Whammy’ fast food ‘chicken’ shack, Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) is now one of these most successful alternative photographers in the states and Brick (Steve Carrell) well Brick is still Brick. These segments are great and full of humour one of my favourites is an excellent piece of editing cuts from a huge group laugh to absolute silence in a sharp second leaving dead noise and certainly for the audience I was with a cacophony of pure laughter. The much pushed winnebago scene in the trailers had me worried but is actually pulled off with exceptional grace and is one of the films most well balanced new ideas, being both entertaining and very funny too.
The team’s journey to return to the top spot on the world’s first every 24hr news network is filled with fantastic jokes, some excellently awkward moments and a little bit of romance for Brick in there too. The film excels in this 2nd act and you can tell that all the cast feel at home, the jokes keep rolling and it very rarely loses it’s way. As mentioned there are a few jokes that feel out of character, but all in all there’s plenty to keep you laughing. In classic Burgundy form, Ron manages to make an absolutely horrendous start with his new boss with some truly awkward remarks that will have you cringing, in a good way.
My biggest disappointment of the film was a completely out of character tangent as the film enters it’s third act, I won’t spoil it, but for me it’s inclusion really didn’t feel fitting within the film and greatly detracted from the sheer enjoyment I’d been experiencing up to this point. Once here I feared the film had truly lost it’s way, yet I was wrong and it came back with a gigantic bang (literally) and jokes a plenty in the latter half of the third act which for me topped even the dizzyingly funny heights the film reached prior to this.
One of the best moments of the film comes in it’s final 15 minutes and is very much unexpected, it’s true fan service and emulates one of the most unique and exciting scenes from the original movie. Anchorman 2 is a brilliant film and one that you’ll be hard pressed not to enjoy, personally I found there to be an occasional joke that was too crass or felt out of character. It feels that in attempting to diversify for a greater audience it has lost some of the charm and humour that was originally present within characters. Accompanying this final act is an abundantly indulgent series of cameos that will have you chuckling outrageously.
This is a brilliant film, whilst not quite to the standard of the original, it for the most part stays true to everything that made the first so much fun. It pushes the envelope where it can by introducing a host of new characters, some smart new jokes for the series and is generally great fun. I’d recommend getting to the cinema and watching it as soon as you can, you’ll enjoy and who knows maybe you’ll laugh at the few jokes I didn’t.
Ben Corbett-Mills / @benleopards