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He Said, She Said Review Site

Anchorman 2

What She said:

She

That’s right, nearly a decade after the 2004 Will Ferrell comedy Anchorman surprised us by being stupidly entertaining and somewhat satirical, the clan is back.  Ron Burgundy (Ferrell), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Champ Kind (David Koechner), and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) are reuniting to take cable news by storm.  And the result is a film that may be a little too familiar, but still packs a few decent laughs.

The film opens with us learning that Ron Burgundy and now-wife Veronica Corningstone are a hotshot network news team in New York City.  Ron and Veronica get called up to the office of Mack Tannen, the famous nightly news anchor for the station, who has decided it’s time to leave the desk and retire.  Ron and Veronica cannot curb their enthusiasm, as they know that he is going to suggest one of them as his protégé (hopefully both of them!).  The meeting with Mack seems to be going well, despite that Ron, per his usual, has been saying off-color and slightly irrational things.  Finally, Mack makes his big announcement and suggests Veronica to follow in his footsteps.  He also tells Ron that he’s the worst anchor he’s ever seen and that he’s firing him.  As you can guess, this is all a huge blow to the egocentric Ron.

Anchorman 2

In a fit of jealousy, Ron issues Veronica an ultimatum, choose him or her career.  She goes for the career, wanting to follow her dreams.  We fast forward six months, and rejoin Ron as he is now living back in San Diego.  His life is in shambles.  He’s working at Sea World, which he, of course gets fired from, and only has his loyal dog Baxter to support him.  But what’s this?  Ron is courted by GNN, the Global News Network, a burgeoning 24-hour news station that is about to hit the airwaves.  Seeing this as a great opportunity, he brings together his old pals, Brian Fantana, Brick Tamland, and Champ Kind, to return to New York and regain their former glory.  The problem is, they quickly find out that they’re not center stage at GNN, and Ron is going to have to prove himself as a journalist all over again.  He butts heads with rival reporter, Jack Lime, and tries to win back Veronica, who is now dating a psychiatrist Gary.  He also attempts to repair his relationship with his young son Walter.

It’s nice to see our favorite San Diego news team back together again.  However, this film is written in a way that it almost feels too familiar.  Ron, Brian, Brick, and Champ reengage with jokes that are sort of sink or swim.  Some hit the mark, others just fester like a bad fart.  And when they fester, they hang for a while, which actually made me somewhat uncomfortable.  Like the original Anchorman film, the overarching storyline of this film is not heeded too much attention.  I mean, it unfolds, and you’ll understand what is happening for sure because it’s all not too complex, but the film is basically a series of jokes strung together.  And that’s all we can really expect from this. 

Anchorman 2

On the upside, we get to see Brick fall in love.  He finds a woman in New York named Chani (Kristen Wiig) who is as odd and unintelligible as he is.  Their sequences are awkward but pretty funny because the two of them don’t even understand how a human relationship functions.  Brick also surprises us all in this film by finally saying something that is somewhat educated and makes sense!

Champ is the same Champ—crude, offensive, and unlikable.  And Brian is somewhat suave and along for the ride.  I liked the character of Jack Lime (James Marsden), the cocky heartthrob journalist who ruffles Ron’s feathers.  I think that Marsden did a great job giving life to the character and making him a decent villain. 

Surprisingly, for me the best parts of this movie were those that focused on the interactions between Ron and Veronica.  These moments are probably the most natural feeling, and the two still have good interaction and chemistry.  I also like the fight sequence, which is a rehashing of the one from the first movie.  This one is bigger and better, and makes fun of the fact that the news market has become wildly oversaturated.

Aside from that, Anchorman 2 is just not as good as the original.  It’s funny that a movie can return a decade later and manage to feel stale.  It’s not bad, but so many of the jokes flop that I was disappointed in that regard.  The original film was filled with tons of quotable moments that would stick with you for weeks afterwards.  I recall The He and I going back and forth using lines from the film.  There wasn’t much in this film that can live up to that standard, and so it’s easily forgotten.  Yes, there’s a sense of nostalgia in revisiting the crew.  But there’s nothing about this film that really distinguishes it from “just another goofy, irreverent comedy.” 

Anchorman 2

What He said:

He

Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) are not only married and have a kid now, they are co-anchors for a big network in New York. Mack Tannen (Harrison Ford) is the anchor of the nightly news, and most famous anchor in New York, and plans on retiring. He intends to pick his replacement. Ron and Veronica are hoping they will again be co-anchors, but Tannen has other plans. Not only does Ron not get the job, but he’s fired too. Tannen thinks he is a complete and total boob, as well as the worst on-air personality he’s ever seen. Veronica gets the job and Ron is driven mad with jealousy.

Anchorman 2

In typical Ron Burgundy fashion, when he hits rock bottom, he does it in style. Ron is out of the news industry and is forced to take a job as an emcee at Sea World. As you’d expect, he does not take the demotion well and often treats the audience to drunken and crude tirades, instead of just doing his job. Ron eventually gets fired from this job too, but catches a break this time.

Ron is approached by a named Freddie shapp, who works for the soon-to-be launched Global News Network. GNN is this revolutionary new network that plans to air news 24/7 (the movie takes places in the 80s in case you didn’t know). Ron takes the job, but only under the condition that he is allowed to pick his news team.

Of course he goes with his old crew from his San Diego days. He then embarks on a mission to find the guys. Champ (David Koechner) is no longer a sports caster, but an owner of a friend chicken store that has less than ethical practices. Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) is now a famous *ahem* photographer. Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) is presumed to be dead.

Ron eventually gets the gang back together and takes the job with GNN, but quickly finds out that his crew is on at two in the morning. They quickly become the whipping boys of star anchor Jack Lime (James Marsden) and his crew. A rivalry ensues. Ron is determined to beat Jack in the ratings, but has no chance being on at the timeslot that he is, while Jack is the network’s poster boy and gets the best slot. So they do what any self-respecting journalists do, they make things up, do stories on things that really aren’t a big deal, but hype them up to me. Basically, they do anything and everything they can do get ratings, regardless of whether it’s legitimate news or not.

Anchorman 2

Ron is also motivated by trying to beat Veronica, who is still the number one anchor over at his old station.

A couple of other things are going on here as well. Brick gets a girlfriend and she’s played by Kristen Wiig! Ron’s antics during the 2:00 a.m. shift have earned the network surprisingly good ratings, but he lets it go to his head. He has a falling out with his buddies and is neglectful as a father, which further aggravates his ex-wife Veronica. Another challenge Ron faces is his new boss Linda Jackson (Meagan Good). Not only she is a woman - and if you remember correctly Ron and the boys aren’t the most politically correct bunch – she’s black and to Ron’s group of macho – and arguably primitive – group of friends, this is new territory.

This movie came out almost a decade after the original. Any time something like that happens, there’s always the possibility they aren’t able to recreate the same old magic. It happens pretty often actually. We all get excited when we hear about a sequel to something we like, but often end up walking away disappointed.

Ok, so here’s the scoop. My partner in crime mentioned people still quote the original. That’s true. It was “kind of a big deal” when it came out. This movie doesn’t reach that level. It’s just not as funny and some of the jokes fall flat. It’s still pretty entertaining though. Christina Applegate and Will Ferrell have good chemistry as these characters. Their bickering is reminiscent of their rivalry when Ron and Veronica first met. The gang fight in the first movie was so great because it caught the audience off-guard for its ridiculousness. We all knew it was coming this time around, so the element of surprise would be missing. Luckily, it was still pretty damn funny. There was a few times I laughed and laughed hard during that scene. Ferrell’s rivalry with James Marsden’s character was pretty funny too. James Marsden is a pretty damn funny guy. He kind of flies under the radar, but between this movie, Sex Drive (he’s a comedic gold in this), Enchanted, and his role on 30 Rock, he’s officially funny in this reviewers opinion. Not the best or most memorable movie, and I probably won’t watch it as much as the original, but still amusing.

Rating: Thumbs half up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on April 12, 2014.

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