The reviews are in for Anchorman 2: how does the long-awaited sequel rate?
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has to be one of the most eagerly-anticipated sequels in memory with the near decade gap between the upcoming release and 2004's The Legend of Ron Burgundy serving only to heighten the fan mania surrounding the franchise.
It has been a long wait but the release of The Legend Continues is only two days away and boy, do we know it. The 2004 movie may have been released to comparatively low fanfare but the sequel has been promoted for months on end with a seemingly never-ending stream of teasers, trailers, clips and in-character public appearances from Will Ferrell, AKA Ron Burgundy, and his hapless news team.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
It has to be said, Anchorman has aged like a ripe cheese or fine wine, becoming funnier and funnier with each watch and slowly cementing its status as a classic noughties comedy, despite being set in the seventies. The sequel will see Burgundy and co. still in the news business whilst they enter the brave new world of the eighties and its innovation for round the clock supporting with all the associated rivalries and on-screen graphics.
"No one will be complaining," says The Guardian's Andrew Pulver boldly, kicking off the wave of pre-release reviews that could be pivotal for the less-convinced cinemagoers. However, though it is noted that "Ferrell and his co-writers have certainly not lost their abilities to conjure up a killer gag at regular intervals," Anchorman 2 is criticised for its "sag" in the second half and unnecessary critique of the tabloid news industry.
Time Out's Anna Smith wasn't too impressed with the 2004 predecessor, which was branded "as flimsy as a sitcom, and [.] shot like one too." "The film smacks of self-indulgence, but throws enough comic talent at the screen to make it stick," the reviewer continued. However Time Out's Anchorman 2 reviewer, Tom Huddlestone, seems to remember the movie's forefather in a different way, describing the new film as "[not] the endlessly quotable, deliciously idiotic follow-on so many of us were optimistically anticipating."
Though the off-beat jokes don't seem to be as well-placed in Anchorman 2, Time Out admits that "It's a joy welcoming Ron back into our lives, and it's Ferrell's fierce, edge-of-excessive performance that once again holds the movie together."
Again, the satire is picked out as a bone of contention as Josh Lawson's Murdoch clone seems to do little to convince viewers other than critique the salacious side of the media world.
Back in 2004, Variety gave Anchorman one of its more even-handed reviews, admiring Ferrell and director and former SNL writer Adam McKay's "inspired lunacy" which made for "jaw-droppingly bizarre summer fun." The review for number two is also quick to note a lack of quote-ability but a "richer, more cinematic lighting" as well as a movie made "without compromising its core of freewheeling prankishness." In fact, Scott Foundas even goes as far as to herald an opening for a potential third movie.
All in all, not a single reviewer rated Anchorman 2's several racial slurs favourably, with one scene where Ron attends a dinner with a black family called out for being unfunny and off the mark. Nevertheless, we may not be going round quoting the 'Sex Panther' advert or singing 'Afternoon Delight' when drunk in the same way again but it seems that the initial genius of the Anchorman characters and cheesy 70s news premise has been mined for another successful outing.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues will be released on the 18th December.