Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: Super-Sized R-Rated Version (2013)(Minor Spoilers Review)

**This review contains MINOR spoilers. No major reveals.**

Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and Veronica Conrningstone (Christina Applegate) are working together as a happy married couple. Together, they work as co-anchors for a first-rate news station in New York City, but an unexpected meeting complicates their relationship.

As the man in charge at the network, Mack Tannen (Harrison Ford) decides to promote Veronica to an unprecedented position as the first female anchor on the nightly news. On the other hand, Ron was expecting a retirement announcement from Mack, but Tannen fires Ron. After the meeting, Ron gives Veronica an ultimatum: Veronica refuses Mack Tannen’s job offer out of respect to Ron, or Ron promises to leave Veronica, and their son, Walter (Judah Nelson) without looking back. Veronica ignores  Ron’s request, so Ron abandons Veronica and Walter.

Six months later, Ron relocates to San Diego again. Ron embarrasses himself during a drunken fit at his new job for the local oceanarium, and the manager fires Ron. Ron tries to commit suicide after the incident, but Freddie Shapp (Dylan Baker) approaches Ron with an irresistible offer. Freddie is an employee for GNN, a revolutionary twenty-four hour news network, and Freddie wants to hire Ron as an anchorman. Ron accepts the offer under one non-negotiable condition: Ron has the right to assemble his own hand picked news team with no questions asked. Freddie agrees to Ron’s terms, and Ron accepts the offer.

After a lengthy search mission, Ron convinces Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), and Champ Kind (David Koechner) to join him at GNN. But Ron and his team run into a series of a hurdles at GNN. Ron is stuck in a rivalry with a hot-shot anchorman named Jack Lime (James Marsden), and Ron complicates the working relationship with his new boss, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good).

To make matters worse, Veronica’s in a comfortable relationship with a psychiatrist named Gary (Greg Kinnear). And to add to his growing list of problems, Ron’s team is stuck on the graveyard shift, and a distracted Brick is falling in love with Chani Lastname (Kristen Wiig), a GNN secretary.

But Ron devises a scheme to beat Jack Lime’s ratings on the primetime edition of GNN. Burgundy plans to broadcast mindless stories (random car chases, homerun highlight reels, etc.) as a ploy to spike the ratings. Ron’s plan is a success, but he’ll have to choose between a trusted friend and Kench Allenby (Josh Lawson), the slimy owner of GNN, in a moral dilemma that could change the course of GNN forever. Ron’s plate is full, as he struggles with blindness, repairing his relationship with Veronica and Walter, and the troubles of raising a pet shark.

Will Ferrell delivers another entertaining and hilarious performance as the delusional blowhard with a massive ego. Koechner, Carell, and Rudd provide their fair share of laughs, and Wiig is a nice fit in the role for Brick’s female counterpart. Meagan Good is my pick for the standout star from the supporting cast of new additions. Good takes control of Linda, as the sassy and aggressive foxy lady, who’s in charge. And Marsden is solid, as the obnoxious pretty boy with a snobbish superiority complex.

It’s hard to keep track of all the sub-plots for the sequel. Ron’s blindness, Ron exiling himself to a lighthouse with Veronica and Walter, Ron’s feud with Jack, Ron’s romantic relationship with Linda during the split with Veronica, Ron raising a shark as a pet at the lighthouse, and the love story between Brick and Chani.

It’s not an easy choice, but Ron and Linda’s relationship is my pick for the best sub-plot. At first, a sexist Ron dismisses Linda as his boss, and Linda intimidates Ron. But after the ratings spike with Ron’s crew, Linda pursues Ron. Ron fights off Linda at first, but Ron succumbs to Linda‘s advances in the end. There’s a dinner table scene, where Linda introduces Ron to her family, and all hell breaks loose after a series of racial insults from Ron. Watching the chaos during the dinner unfold is a real treat. Ron crosses so many inappropriate lines, and he’ll surprise you with every outburst in a jaw dropping back and forth duel of racial insults with Linda’s family.

I enjoyed the Super-Sized R-Rated Version, but I’ll throw out a fair warning, this version of Anchorman is NOT for everyone. The runtime clocks in at 2hrs. & 33min., this new version features 763 new jokes, and you‘ll hear a few f-bombs.

So I’m telling you right now, if you’re indifferent to Anchorman, or if you’re on the fence about the sequel, this version is not for you, and it’s that simple, because there’s a good chance you’ll remember the Super-Sized Version as an overlong, tiresome, and bloated comedy. Me? I loved every second of this one week only special. It’s a riot from start to finish, and I can honestly say I laughed all the way through until the credits started rolling at the end.

I only have one complaint about The Legend Continues: The teased feud between Veronica and Linda. Remember that scene in the trailers, where Linda and Veronica exchange insults? Well, that’s all you’ll see for a feud here. It’s a shame, because the love triangle feud between Ron (with Ron playing the role of an instigator) had some real potential. But Anchorman is LOADED with sub-plots, so you’re taking an unnecessary chance of creating a big mess with a full blown Veronica VS Linda feud.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues takes the top spot for the best comedy in 2013. The absurd lunacy is still whacky and over the top, and The Legend Continues delivers consistent laughs with some help from a top notch cast. And the cameos during the big battle at the end are mind-blowing. It’s one big surprise after another, and the barrage of celebrity appearances are guaranteed to pull more than one “Wow!” reaction out of you.

If you read my reviews on here, you’ll know I’m against unnecessary or cash grab sequels. Is The Legend Continues the end of the line film for the Anchorman franchise? Well, I’m hoping the answer to this question is no, but director/co-writer Adam McKay drove the nail into the coffin with a recent interview. His response to a Part III in a recent interview? “It’s done.” Usually, I’m against more sequels, but if there’s a good chance of keeping the core cast together, with some cameos from the past, then I don’t see a real sense of urgency for pulling the plug to preserve Anchorman’s legacy (no pun intended).

Yeah, I know you’re taking a risk of damaging Anchorman’s reputation  with another sequel, and the critical success rate for number threes (Return Of The Jedi, and….) raises a few red flags, but there’s a lot of gas left in the tank for Anchorman. I’m not the only one, who noticed Brian’s “breaking the fourth wall” moment at the end, right? Ron and everyone else express their concerns for the future of the news team, and Rudd gives a brief explanation about box office profits. Brian reminds everyone about the sequel’s success at the box office playing a major role in the production of a sequel.

Are Brian’s words food for thought? Am I reading too much into this scene after McKay seemingly drove the nail into the coffin with his interview? Perhaps, but think about like this, The Legend Continues enjoyed a successful box office run, and I like to keep a “never say never” or “time will tell” mindset  for sequels. Die hard Anchorman fans will have to wait and see as the years pass, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Ron Burgundy return to the big screen.

Rating: 8/10

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