Have you ever been reminded of an old favorite TV show or movie and go back to watch it, only to discover that it’s just not the same as you remember? All the jokes are the same. So are the characters and setting. Anchorman 2 is a lot like that. It remembers what it used to be and tries to imitate the original, but somehow, just doesn’t quite live up.
Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is back again with his news team, and this time, he’s got a network gig. After losing his cushy gig as the main anchor, Burgundy struggles to get back on top as the best anchor in America. Similarly, Anchorman 2 struggles to make me think it’s the best comedy in a long time, which it certainly isn’t.
Anchorman 2 is yet another victim of the recent trend of trying to reboot franchises or make sequels to movies that have long lived past their prime. The original is still smart and hysterical, but the reboot isn’t worth it, once again. It relies on the same old jokes too many times during the film to really warrant much of my attention. “Great [pop culture reference]’s [object]!” is Ferrell’s exclamation-of-choice too many times. It isn’t funny, by the twenty-seventh time he yells it in the film, and it’s only mildly funny the first time. It’s formulas like this that make me think the film is, all too often, trying too hard.
The advertising campaign and hype for this film really were what sold me on getting excited for part two of one of my favorite comedies. Will Ferrell, love him or hate him, really surpassed himself with the public appearances and guest spots, most recently on ESPN in an interview with Peyton Manning. The guest spots were nothing short of brilliant, and really helped to increase the “legend” of Ron Burgundy in the real world.
That said, it leads me into what I really liked about this film. Once again, the news crew doesn’t fail to make me laugh hysterically. There’s some great gags in the film that I won’t spoil here, but unfortunately, at least fifty percent of the film’s best moments are spoiled in the excessive number of trailers we’ve all seen online, on television, or in theaters. By the time you see the jokes in context, some of them have lost their freshness. The sheer ability for a film like this to be treading on what we know will be familiar territory, and still surprise me for the outrageously out-of-context humor is commendable. These are the moments where Anchorman 2 is at its best, even though some of them probably go a bit too far.
I came into the film with low expectations, but to my surprise, they were surpassed. That’s not to say, however, the film couldn’t have been a good sight better, because this film will fade into obscurity whenever the first one is mentioned. I’ll admit, to be sure, that I laughed my way through Anchorman 2, but one for the ages, it is not. I enjoyed watching the last hurrah of Anchorman, but one can only hope that they won’t go for broke and spawn a third film. You stay classy, Ron.