It should’ve 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, The Legend Continues is not the disaster we feared it might be, but neither is it the endlessly quotable, deliciously idiotic follow-up so many of us were anticipating. This may be the first time in history that the marketing campaign has proven more entertaining than the movie itself.
The plot is unnecessarily convoluted, following San Diego’s finest news source, Ron Burgundy (Ferrell), and his nemesis-turned-muse, Veronica Corningstone (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 Ferrell’s fierce, edge-of-excessive performance once again holds the film together. There’s more satirical bite this time around—the depiction of thinly disguised Rupert Murdoch clone Allenby (Lawson) may be the biggest fuck-you to a media mogul since Citizen Kane—but otherwise, it’s business as usual.
But somewhere in the plot-heavy midsection, 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”). Too many of the gags involve racial misunderstandings that might’ve 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 battle, amusing in a count-the-stars sort of way, yet (like much of this pleasant but essentially pointless installment) more dutiful than inspired.