By Matt Laroe (New York)
Will Ferrell: Comedy Actor or Political/Journalistic Satirist?
This is a question I never thought I would ask myself after seeing Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the sequel to the original cult classic, but nevertheless, that is what I did.
First the back story, we find out hero, Ron Burgundy, working in New York with his wife, Veronica, as network anchors on the weekends. Rons’ life takes a tumble as Veronica is offered the job for prime time weekdays for the retiring Mack Tarken (played by the ever so craggy Harrison Ford) and Ron is forced back to San Diego. Ron is then sought after and offered a chance at redemption at a budding news network known as GNN who have the crazy idea of starting a 24 hour news network with Ron and his news team.
When the team is in need of a ratings boost, Ron brings up the questions of, “Why do we have to talk about what the people NEED?” “Why can’t we talk about what the news that they WANT?” The team takes this concept and goes rogue and it turns out to be a ratings success and they become world famous.
The film pokes fun/takes shots at news outlets like Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC as it takes a look at the early stages of the methods that those companies and others use to manipulate the news that they broadcast in order to bring in more viewers. It also takes a small look into the corruption that news networks involve themselves in with other mainstream corporations that essentially pay them to show (or to not show) news stories that pertain to them. It also takes a look at how saturated the news has become and brings up the question, are there simply too many types of news out there?
Let’s be honest though, you aren’t going to see this film for the statements on social issues and moral corruption, you are going to see Ron Burgundy and his team take their talents to New York City. All of the characters redeem themselves admirably to their beloved characters and even though they do some crude and shameful things we still find ourselves caring about their outcomes. One thing I will say that was overdone was Brick’s character. What made Brick Tamland so great in the original was that he came in small hilarious doses. Here, he is let off his leash and while still funny, he ultimately begins to wear on us. Ron sums this feeling perfectly by saying “Sometimes you just wanna slug him”.
Ultimately, the film succeeds in its main purpose which was to entertain and make us laugh. It wasn’t trying to be anything that it’s not , but it managed to give us a story that had developed characters and poked fun at modern broadcast journalism. If anything, the film is worth seeing for the “Anchorman Fight” in central park between rival news outlets which contained a large number of celebrity cameos.
This was one of the funniest movies of the year and will go down smooth with that holiday eggnog.