Now Playing: Anchors Aweigh

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy‘ may not have been a huge blockbuster back in 2004, but grew into a cult classic on home video, with a fan base that endlessly quotes its dialogue. Since that time, nearly every actor from the film has become a superstar. Now, a decade later, here comes the sequel, ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’, and I’m glad to say that it has enough gut-busting laughs for three movies.

As we last left them, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) had been hired as news anchors at a big time network. We pick up when the two are brought to an uncomfortable meeting with the network boss (Harrison Ford), who informs them that Veronica has been promoted and Ron has been fired. A few months later, Ron has left Veronica and works at Sea World, until the Global News Network (GNN) offes him a new job as one of the anchors on the first ever 24 hour news channel in New York City. But what’s Ron Burgundy without his faithful news team?

Soon, Ron drives a Winnebago cross-country to assemble the old gang. Champ Kind (David Koechner) sells fried chicken. Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) hangs out with O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake and Phil Spector, and is also a world-renowned photographer of cats. And the lovable Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) supposedly died, but is found speaking at his own funeral. It’s amazing to see just how far Carell has come as an actor since the first ‘Anchorman’ movie. He was a supporting star back then, but now makes $20 million a picture and has had some pretty straight dramatic roles, yet easily slips back into his low IQ character with charm and grace. Brick meets his female equivalent played by Kristen Wiig, who is all sorts of awkwardly funny.

This hilarious sequel really finds its footing when GNN is launched, and Ron wagers a bet that he can get higher ratings during his 2 AM slot than pretty boy anchor Jack Lime (James Marsden) can in primetime.

From there, the script is jettisoned and the comedians do what they do best: improv. However, all the jokes seem well-rehearsed and hit their marks perfectly, even if the movie has some odd edits and a few slow moments. Don’t let that worry you, as this sequel is full of surprises and great moments that will have you laughing until you can barely breathe.

A lot of scenes take jokes from the first film and add to them. For instance, Brian Fantana’s cologne collection is now a condom collection, which garners tons of laughs. We get another epic battle where all of the rival news teams come to kill each other, but this time it’s packed full of A-Listers. The movie does a good job of keeping the material fresh while still giving us a dose of what we loved from the first film.

Ferrell is once again brilliant as Ron Burgundy. His facial expressions, mannerisms and dialogue are still hilarious. The supporting cast is just as good throughout. Although some of the scenes play out like ‘SNL’ skits, the laughs, goofy characters and funny dialogue keep this silly movie rolling. ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend might be the hardest you’ll laugh this holiday season.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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