It's been nearly 10 years since we first met Ron Burgundy, and this sequel is just as random and silly as expected. It's also more like a series of referential gags than an actual movie comedy, and as with the original film the best bits are knowing jabs at absurdities of the news media. This time we're in the 1980s, so there's plenty to make fun of here.
Over the past decade, Ron (Ferrell) has married Veronica (Applegate), and they've taken a joint anchor job in New York, where they live with their son (Nelson). But when Veronica lands a coveted network news job, Ron has a meltdown. Drunk and unemployed, he's approached to work on a new station: a 24-hour cable news channel. Even though he's sure this crazy idea will never catch on, Ron re-assembles his old team (swaggering reporter Rudd, dazed weatherman Carell and goofy sports guy Koechner) to beat handsome anchor Jack Lime (Marsden) in the ratings. And Ron's offbeat, populist approach changes the news forever.
This comical exploration of how TV news has shifted from hard reporting to shameless audience pandering gives the film a whiff of depth, which helps make the comical moments a lot funnier. The screenplay is a series of sketch-comedy episodes that don't quite hang together. For example, you could delete an extended sequence in which Ron goes blind, nurses a shark to health and sings a big musical number, and the movie wouldn't change at all. But all of these sequences have an absurd genius behind them that often gets us laughing, sometimes in disbelief.
And then there are the 1980s gags, which the gifted cast members throw themselves into with gusto, relishing the nutty costumes and fluffy hairstyles ("perms for everyone!"). Essentially, Ferrell and McKay are throwing everything they can think of at the screen, and some of it is very funny indeed, right to a virtual tsunami of A-list cameos in the big finale. But a more coherent approach might have made this feel like a classic. Still, you can't help but love anyone who pokes fun at CNN and Rupert Murdoch.
Run time: 119 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 18th December 2013
Box Office USA: $127.3M
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Production compaines: Gary Sanchez Productions, Paramount Pictures, Apatow Productions
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Fresh: 139 Rotten: 47
IMDB: 6.4 / 10
Director: Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy, Steve Carell as Brick Tamland, Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana, Luke Wilson as Frank Vitchard, Christina Applegate as Veronica Corningstone, David Koechner as Champ Kind, James Marsden as Jack Lime, Kristen Wiig as Chani Lastnamé, Meagan Good as Linda Jackson, Dylan Baker as Freddie Shapp, Tina Fey as Entertainment Tonight Reporter, Kirsten Dunst as El Trousias Maiden of the Clouds, Liam Neeson as History Channel Host, Vince Vaughn as Wes Mantooth, Marion Cotillard as CBS News Anchor, Harrison Ford as Mack Tannen, Will Smith as ESPN Reporter, Sacha Baron Cohen as BBC News Anchor, Jim Carrey as CBC News Anchor, Amy Poehler as Entertainment Tonight Host, Kanye West as MTV Host