The first Anchorman was only a modest success at the box office, later gaining popularity on DVD thanks to its immensely quotable dialogue and the growing fame of several of its stars. Now hailed by many as the defining comedy of the 2000's, hopes for the inevitable follow up were high. I'm sorry to say that, while not without its moments, this overlong and self-indulgent sequel plays like reheated leftovers of the first film. It's still funny in parts, but we've seen this done before, and better.
Still, there's some inspired bits of humor here as Ron Burgundy loses his job to his wife, hits rock bottom, and stages a comeback with his team (Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, and David Koechner) on a 24 hour news station. The film's cleverest plot device finds Burgundy single-handedly creating all of the absurb tactics of modern news outlets. As a satire of CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and the like, Anchorman 2 is fairly sharp.
There's some decent messages about overcoming racial prejudice, reviving journalistic integrity, and putting family first, but mostly the filmmakers seem interested in having a good time on set and hoping that it rubs off on the audience. It does, but only to a point. The first half hour or so is promising, but soon the film starts to show signs of fatigue. It doesn't help that this one is nearly 30 minutes longer than the other. Clocking in at a full two hours, Anchorman 2 simply doesn't have enough gas to justify its running time (a bit more discipline in the editing room would have done wonders). The reliance on bizarre non-sequiturs and celebrity cameos are scatter-shot here, with some hitting the mark and some feeling so…tired. What's more, the film leans too heavily (like the first) on crass innuendo. Fans will likely enjoy themselves if they lower their expectations, but others may want to look for laughs elsewhere. Steve Carrell is brilliant in this, though.
CONTENT OVERVIEW: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is rated PG-13. It has one f-word and a fair amount of moderate profanity. There is some slapstick violence that isn't meant to be taken seriously (a car crash, a shark attack, a full-on battle between news anchors, etc). There's lots of sexual humor, with references to masturbation, sex organs, interracial sex, and an extended conversation about a variety of condoms. A man kisses a woman against a glass window and pulls up her skirt, revealing men's briefs. A woman comes on to a man in his office. They later have sex; it's standard PG-13 fare, with a sheet covering her body (and most of his) while they kiss in bed.
MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: Due to the influence they have on others, journalists have even more responsibility to tell the truth and not “bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16). No one is superior or inferior to another based on race or gender (2 Nephi 26:33). “No other success can compensate for failure in the home” (J.E. McCulloch; famously quoted by President David O. McKay).
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Licensed marriage and family therapist. Husband. Father. Film critic.