Most of Anchorman 2 is in Burgundy time, that zone where awfulness is funny relative to the amount of time Burgundy remains clueless to his situation, which is pretty much the first 60 minutes. The excuse for bringing all the funny back for a second time (besides money) is the parody of the rise of CNN and the 24 hour news cycle. The fondling network needs good, bad or indifferent news anchors and Burgundy and his former news team weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), sports guy Champ Kind (David Koechner), and beat reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) are just the types to fill the lobster spot between 2-5 am. Burgundy’s back story involves ego, divorce and unemployment.
The moment Burgundy wins the ratings bet between him and the star anchor Jack Lime (James Marsden) and becomes cool is when the hit to misfire gag ratio starts ebbing below 50%. When a clueless character becomes aware of his meta-fictional state it is not something even the best writers can save from bathos without a U-turn that returns him back to idiocy. It is not funny for Ron Burgundy to undergo character development.
Director Adam McKay devotes little time to sticking to the scripted dialogue. He stays out of the way of comic inspiration by letting improv run riot. If some of it doesn’t cut together than that is the price that needs to be paid for comic greatness. And much of Anchorman 2 is great enough to be groan free.
The supporting cast aptly knows where the funny is. The romance between Steve Carell and Kristen Wigg (who by sheer coincidence is the hot love interest of December with her appearance in Ben Stiller’s Xmas day gift, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) is a love dance between two wicks without a flame. David Koechner gets lots of laugh from his occasional sleazy interior popping up. Only Paul Rudd seems a little too earnest and a bit off, a disappointment considering his name in the title will get me fawning for any of his movies. Like Ron Burgundy it is impossible to hate these lumps for too long.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues gets a B from me.