It should have been the top story, but instead it's been bumped to the back of the hour: '...and in other news, the "Anchorman" sequel is perfectly adequate'. Yes, 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues' is not the disaster some feared it might be, but neither is it the endlessly quotable, deliciously idiotic follow-on so many of us were optimistically anticipating. This may be the first time in history that the marketing campaign has proven more entertaining than the movie itself.
The story is unnecessarily convoluted, following San Diego's finest news source Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his nemesis-turned-muse Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) as they battle, break up, reunite, and navigate the new world of 24-hour reporting. It’s a joy welcoming Ron back into our lives, and it’s Ferrell’s fierce, edge-of-excessive performance that once again holds the movie together. There’s more satirical bite this time around – the depiction of thinly disguised Rupert Murdoch clone Allenby (Josh Lawson) may be the biggest fuck-you to a media mogul since ‘Citizen Kane’ – but otherwise it’s business as usual. Yet somewhere in the plot-heavy mid-section, ‘Anchorman 2’ crosses that fine line between enjoyably effortless and just plain lazy.
There are giggles throughout – a hefty percentage of them provided by Steve Carell as congenital moron Brick Tamland – but precious few big laughs (no ‘Go fuck yourself, San Diego’ here). Too many of the gags involve racial misunderstandings that might have worked three decades ago, and too many talented cast members – notably Paul Rudd and Kristen Wiig – are squandered. It all culminates with a high-wattage celebrity dust-up which is amusing in a count-the-stars sort of way, but feels (like much of this pleasant but inessential sequel) more dutiful than inspired.