I recently learned that when inflation is taken into account, the much-anticipated sequel to Anchorman had box office returns that were essentially the same as those of the original. That is to say, it didn’t do very well. Anchorman itself is more of a cult classic and it did not enjoy popularity during its time in theaters. Therefore, the news of such a weak performance in this instance solidified Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues as an admirable followup to an untouchable masterpiece.
I almost left the theater when I was watching Anchorman for the first time. I had made it a substantial way through the film, but something about Jack Black punting Baxter the dog off of a bridge had pushed me over the edge. I didn’t leave though; something made me stay. The next day, awkward quotes from the film resurfaced in my mind, quotes that urgently needed to be verbalized. “By the beard of Zeus!” I would say in passing to my fellow filmgoer and sister, Krista; she would swiftly reply with a “Sweet Lincoln’s Mullet!!” We spent the next nine years reciting Anchorman to each other on a daily basis. Of course, when we learned of the sequel, we were simultaneously excited and concerned. How could this film possibly live up to the terribly fantastic standards set by the original? I won’t go so far as to say that the sequel is as good as the original, because it’s not. That being said, I have only seen Anchorman 2 once, and I have lost track of the embarrassing amount of times that I have spent watching the Channel 4 news team. I was prepared to be disappointed by the followup, but I was actually pleasantly surprised.
We find Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone anticipating joint promotions to become lead anchors. However, while Veronica becomes the first female lead anchor, Ron is ceremoniously fired for being the worst news anchor to ever live. Ron can’t handle Veronica’s success, so he leaves her and his son to pursue the extensive consumption of scotch and an emcee position at Sea World. Just as Ron is fired from Sea World, however, he is contacted by a representative of a 24 hour news network. Ron reassembles his first-rate news team, and they prepare to take the world by storm in spite of their underdog status at the new network.
This film has many of the hallmarks of the original: Brian Fantana’s cologne collection is alluded to and we also learn he is a condom connoisseur; instead of “Afternoon Delight,” Ron serenades audiences with a lovely ballad about Doby the rehabilitated shark; Champ Kind says “whammy” many, many times; there is a battle of the networks featuring an innumerable amount of cameos and the ghost of Stonewall Jackson. New characters are introduced, such as a love interest for Brick and a new rival for Ron, but it is the original cast that shines. Brick Tamland’s butter commercial is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, and I was also irrationally entertained by his missing legs on the weather map green screen.
The plot feels a bit sappy in comparison to Anchorman; Ron learns the importance of family and being there for his son. This sappiness, however, does not overshadow the asinine plot and juvenile humor. I will need to watch this movie at least 7 dozen more times before I can make a valid assessment, but Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is seemingly a worthy successor.