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12/18/2013

Big Mac movie review: Anchorman 2 needs an editor

Anchorman-2-The-Legend-Continues-Meagan-Good-and-Will-FerrellOur greatest fears were not realized, but what happens to so many successful creative types after they have a few hits happened to Ron Burgundy - no one can make him stop.

No one has the power to tell the trio of director Adam McKay, star Will Ferrell and producer Judd Apatow, "Less is more." A movie that didn't need to be very much other than a 90-minute machine-gun spray of funny lines actually created a solid premise full of A-potential, and then tried too hard.

While "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" does meet the "The Sequel Test" - don't expect the first, lower your standards - and it provides many funny scenes and lines, it simply goes on too long and could have used a trim.

The story: Ron Burgundy is canned, leaves his wife (Christina Applegate) and hits bottom. He is recruited to join a new, 24-hour news channel in NYC in 1980. There is so much material in the evolution of the 24-hour new industry, and the writers have fun with the Fox-ization of mass appealing news consumption based on patriotism, boobs, car chases and weather. They even have a character who owns the station who is Australian, a direct shot at Fox boss Rupert Murdoch.

 

Anchorman-2The people: There are too many to count. Ferrell is good as the pompous Burgundy, but once again Steve Carrel as the brainless Brick Tamland steals every scene he walks in. He is paired with a love interest (Kristen Wiig), who seems to play only one character).

James Marsden is the great-looking nemesis at the same station, who goes by Jack Lime.

The role players don't get as many laughs as the first film, but the inclusion of a black female news director (Meagan Good) who becomes a Burgundy love interest and provides some solid, non-PC laughs.

Is it a remake of the first?: Believe it or not, no. This sequel actually advances the story out of the sexist '70s and puts Burgundy in the '80s amid the explosion of cable TV. If the movie just stopped right there, it was more than enough to carry a film. We aren't expecting Network with social commentary. We just want stupid laughs. And we don't Ron Burgundy to be smart.

The movie is 30 minutes too long with subplots that add nothing. One subplot steals directly from McKay and Ferrell's other movie - Ricky Bobby.

The only scene that is really stolen from the first is the old-west showdown between rival news teams. This time it includes cameos from Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Liam Neeson, Will Smith, John C. Reilly, Vince Vaughn, Kanye West, Sacha Baron Cohen among others.

In that scene, keep an eye on the energy drink Fey downs - it's Laughing Clown Malt Liquor, also from Ricky Bobby. 

Should you see it: Yes. Don't pay the evening price. Keep your expectations low. The last 25 minutes crashes.

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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