If you go
“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” rated PG-13
Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars
Running time: 119 minutes
Starring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and Christina Applegate
Now playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.
When you’re traveling down the highway in an RV and you inevitably crash — because, you know, you thought “cruise control” meant an automobile steered itself safely through traffic — and in the ensuing slow-motion havoc of ricocheting bowling balls, angry scorpions and scalding hot oil flying about as the sounds of “Muskrat Love” are heard, it probably will occur to you that you’ve seen this before.
After all, we’ve all had that happen, right? The makers of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” had to get it somewhere.
It’s been said before that when newsman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) falls, he falls hard. After being fired by his idol (Harrison Ford) and divorced by his wife and former co-anchor Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), Ron’s life has started to crumble, and it seems unlikely he’ll ever be on top again.
That's before he is approached by a representative (Dylan Baker) from a news organization experimenting with something entirely new: a cable news channel centered in New York City with 24-hour coverage. And despite skepticism that anyone would want to watch that much news throughout their day, Ron knows an opportunity to be a celebrity again when he hears it.
News team, assemble!
Ferrell doesn’t miss a beat as the character who catapulted him into comedy stardom with a slew of one-liners, a mustache for the ages and a lack of awareness about what’s socially acceptable that probably would get him killed if he lived in the 21st century. Ron Burgundy has learned little since his last adventure, and that’s just the way we like him, as he and his buddies embark on the spectacle of cable news, where anything goes as long as the ratings are high.
Paul Rudd, David Koechner and Steve Carell are just as welcome as the rest of his crew — Rudd as reporter Brian Fontana, who leaves behind the lucrative world of cat photography to jump back into the news game; Koechner as sports commentator Champ Kind, happily leaving behind a fried chicken franchise with a ghastly secret ingredient; and Carell as weatherman Brick Tamland, who has to be convinced that he’s not dead in order to rejoin his friends.
Yep, he’s no smarter than before, but instead of professing his love for a lamp, now he’s got an equally dense lady (Kristen Wiig) in his life.
Applegate gets edged out as the ex-Mrs. Burgundy in favor of Ron’s new boss, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), who opens the door for a whole new way for Ron to display his ignorance, exactly in the way you’d expect. Put him in the same room with an African-American family, and you know it won’t be long before he does something stupid and offensive.
James Marsden is a new addition as Jack Lime, a fresh-faced and equally arrogant anchor with whom Ron immediately butts heads, but we all know San Diego’s darling isn’t one to be outdone in competition, even if it means putting aside his journalistic integrity for the sake of gathering more viewers.
Journalistic integrity? What is that, some sort of fancy sandwich?
The more things change, the more they stay the same, and even with many new elements, this is essentially just an extension of the first “Anchorman” film, not to say that’s a bad thing. Ferrell’s routine as the man who loves scotch, his hair and dog Baxter more than life itself doesn’t get old, providing you enjoyed it the first time.
There’s less of an emphasis on discrimination in the workplace of yesteryear and more on a prophecy about the future of news coverage, with highlighting Ron and company as they blaze trails for the kind of mindless dreck that we take for granted as normal today.
An executive (Josh Lawson) who calls the shots for Global News Network appears to be a suspicious combination of Richard Branson, Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner and every other tycoon who’s reached the point in life where they think they’re invincible, but the critique of media practices runs thin within the script penned by Ferrell and director Adam McKay.
What little plot there is dissolves into a series of elaborate cameos and jokes extended to absurd lengths befitting the style of actor, director and the crowds who love them. You never can be completely in the wrong if you’re giving people what they want
The original “Anchorman” gained a cult following because it had the feel of the beginning of a new era of comedy. As for its sequel, you can’t fault the people involved for trying to get a little more mileage out of such an outrageous personality, especially when he rocks the jazz flute like nobody’s business and cracks up Peyton Manning during promotional periods.
You stay classy, Northwest Colorado.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.