Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has just enough curlicues of silliness – those nonsensical, improvisational digressions that are the hallmarks of Will Ferrell movies – to justify its existence. I know that I, at least, am better for having heard Champ Kind (David Koechner) justify selling bat meat at the fast-food joint he’s started since his news career ended. (“They say bats are the chicken of the cave.”)
Anchorman 2 finds Champ, Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) having gone their separate ways after their beloved news team leader, Ron Burgundy (Ferrell), went on to network fame in New York City. Thankfully, the movie finds a way to bring them together again, for as amusing as Ferrell’s pompously clueless Burgundy is, the true joy of the original Anchorman was the way these four were collectively as dim and awkward off camera as you’ve always hoped your own local news team might be. Brick, Brian and Champ are like satellites of ineptitude circling Ron’s dying supernova of a bygone-era newsman. It’s comic anachronism in action.
Anchorman 2, set in the early 1980s, reunites the team for the 2 to 5 a.m. slot at GNN, the world’s first 24-hour news channel. In their laziness, they devise a pandering, pro-American program that’s heavy on flags and live, televised car chases. It’s a goofy spoof of our FOX News/CNN era, though not very incisive as satire considering Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have already been skewering these deserving targets for years.
Instead, Anchorman 2 is funniest when it chases more random jokes down whatever rabbit hole they might lead. Ron’s stint as a blind recluse living in a lighthouse indulges self-pity to the point of absurdity, while the rumble of rival news teams reprised here from the first film comes with an extra dose of random star power. I can’t claim any of this necessarily adds up to an entire comedy, but for an extended comic tangent, it works quite well.