The Will Ferrel brand of comedy has become an established technique, and it’s been repeatedly used for consistent success. While Ferrell himself has dabbled in more serious or dramady films like ‘Stranger Than Fiction’, he returns to his first love of comedy time and time again. During his formative years, Ferrell had a runaway success on his hands with ‘Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy’.
Introducing a group of new comedians who, at that time were not known to casual audiences, ‘Anchorman’ created a character oblivious to his own ignorance, in a time period where ignorance of current events ran rampant; the character was, ironically, a news anchor. The movie was quite a huge success, however, given major star status of all the actors involved in present day, the sequel took almost 10 years to come together.
‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ features a look at the main character’s life, years after the original movie. Now living together and in a happy relationship with his spouse, played by Christina Applegate from the first film, Ron Burgundy has it made, until it all comes crashing down. Being fired from his job due to his lack of knowledge as a news anchor, on the same instance that his wife is awarded a major position, causes Ron to get into a downward shame spiral. His only redemption is when he reunites his former news team to work together for another channel.
This is an all out comedy film, however, the writers use a plot device that is all too familiar today. The sequel is a genius look at the inception of tabloid journalism. When Ron and his crew are put in a undesirable time slot at their new channel, they begin modifying the way news is presented in order to get more ratings. The modifications involve sensationalizing everyday news to seem more extreme than they are in reality, and even making up news based on flimsy facts and lofty conclusions. It’s essentially the major criticism that most have with news and the journalism industry today. Writers Adam McKay and Will Ferrell very cunningly weave in the state of the journalism industry today to make the sequel, which happens almost 10 years after the original, making it that much more relevant for audiences today.
The ridiculous lengths that Ron and the others go to to exaggerate the events and facts of the news incidents that they are reporting on by presenting them to the public, is a very tongue in cheek reference to the same criticism that news pundits have regarding the state of other media outlets like CNN or Fox News today. While a comedy, ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ does a great job of shining a light on a very real problem and blowing it out of proportion as a means of creating a hyperbole for these incidents.
The News Crew
‘Anchorman 2’ features the return of many actors from the original, almost all of whom have gone on to become major stars in their own right since the first movie.
When ‘Anchorman: The Legend Of Run Burgundy’ released Steve Carrell was practically an unknown. The comedian had appeared on Jon Stewart’s ‘The Daily Show’ as a fake news correspondent, but during the movie he hadn’t done much in Hollywood. Following the original movie though, Carrell blew up in Hollywood, becoming a household name through the U.S. Version of the hit British show ‘The Office’, as well as making his full length feature film lead debut with ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’, which brought him major accolades and name recognition. Since then, Carrell has gone onto become a dramatic actor with films like ‘Foxcatcher’, making it that much more of a feat when he returned for the small time role of Brick in ‘Anchorman 2’.
Working in the industry for decades, Paul Rudd has been in comedy for just as long, with credits dating back to ‘Clueless’ in 1995. Besides supporting roles in films, one of Rudd’s biggest breaks happened when he got a recurring role as the boyfriend of Lisa Kudrow’s Phoebe on ‘Friends’. ‘Anchorman’ was another feather in his cap, as he went on to co-star with Carrell in ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’, even spawning a spin-off movie of his own from that film, titled ‘This Is 40’. Since ‘Anchorman 2’ Rudd has gone onto to star and lead his own ‘Ant Man’ franchise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with ‘Anchorman 2’ co-writer and director, Adam McKay who co-wrote ‘Ant Man’ as well.
‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ is your typical Will Ferrell comedy romp with extravagances that border on the silly, and scenes that are utterly hilarious within their own constructs of over blown exaggeration. What makes the movie as intellectual as it is funny, is the basis of real world journalism as the fictional plot device that drives the story forward. “It’s funny, because it’s true.” is an expression that more than applies to ‘Anchorman 2’, as the truth behind the jokes, is what enhances them that much more.