Almost ten years ago, audiences rejoiced as Will Ferrell introduced us to the oblivious yet amusing news anchor Ron Burgundy and his struggle to co-exist with women in the workplace.
Will Ferrell’s Anchorman was highly successful and the film became widely quoted by fans and a part of popular culture.
Years later, director Adam McKay and co-writer Will Ferrell have produced a sequel, hoping to replicate the humour that made the first Anchorman a worldwide success.
It’s interesting to note how much publicity Ferrell gathered for the sequel, appearing in character on programs such as Conan, the Project and even satirising the Australian election on YouTube.
Unfortunately, Anchorman 2 fails to live up to the high expectations generated by Ferrell’s publicity and is mostly a mess of predictable and clichéd humour.
In the second instalment, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) works for a prestigious news network in New York alongside his wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). After being fired from the job, Burgundy descends into depression, his marriage breaks up and he is driven to suicide. Fortunately, Burgundy is soon offered a job at the 24 hour news network and he then decides to assemble his old team of whacky co-stars.
The main problem with Anchorman 2 is its assumption that what worked in the first film will be just as funny the second time round.
Sure, it’s great to see Mr Burgundy playing a flute whilst figure skating or talking to his canine sidekick Baxter, but the novelty soon wears off.
A majority of the humour is lacking in originality and this becomes apparent after Burgundy goes to a family dinner at his African American girlfriend’s house. It seems as though McKay and Ferrell put little thought into this subplot as a majority of the laughs consist of Burgundy repeating the phrase “black” at the dinner table.
Steve Carrel’s character, Brick Tamland is another plot device devoid of any originality. The borderline mentally challenged weatherman is somewhat reminiscent of Alan from the Hangover, as the character attempts to provide comedic value through his quirky ignorance.
On a positive note it seems as though McKay has made an effort to shift the focus of the original film, as Anchorman 2 makes a statement about how the news is increasingly becoming tabloid and sensationalised.
Unfortunately, this sloppy second serving still feels exaggerated and the message becomes lost in a sea of unfunny racist jokes and pointless storylines, including over fifteen minutes of a blind Burgandy living in a remote lighthouse with his pet shark.
Luckily, there are still some laughs to be had, brought by an inaudible Australian media mogul vaguely comparable to Rupert Murdoch and a host of celebrity cameos involved in a fight scene, including Kanye West and Jim Carrey.
Still, Anchorman 2 fails to impress and is just another forgettable sequel.
Two and a half stars