Fans waited a long time for Ron Burgundy and his friends to return in Anchorman 2: The Legend Returns. They were not disappointed. The film was one of the most successful of 2013 and continues to draw large audiences. Part of the reason for the success of the film is the return of the original cast and the original director and writers. The staff and cast list reads like a Who’s Who of comedy featuring stars like Will Ferrell, Judd Apatow, Adam McKay, Kristen Wiig, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and Christina Applegate.
The film picks up where the original Anchorman film left off, with Ron and Veronica Corningstone married and co-anchoring the news in NYC. But things start to change when the most popular nightly news anchor in the city, played by Harrison Ford, reveals that he is retiring and recruits Veronica to replace him. As Veronica becomes more and more successful and Ron is pushed into the background he becomes very depressed. Ron returns to San Diego and falls apart. He gets fired from every job he has, even Sea World. He attempts suicide but in typical Ron Burgundy fashion botches the job. As he is recovering a produce from a new 24 hour new network, GNN the Global News Network, offers him a job as an anchor.
Ron accepts the job on the condition that he can bring his old news team with him. After tracking down the members of his team who have gone their separate ways they all return to NYC together. Even though Ron was told that he would be a star of the new GNN he is given a late night slot that doesn’t attract a lot of viewers. His on air rival at another station openly mocks Ron on the air and challenges him to see who can get better ratings. Ron accepts the challenge and starts trying to rebuild his audience. He hits a snag though. He finds that audiences don’t want responsible reporting on current issues. They want sensational pieces on topics that they want to see instead of fact based pieces on topics they need to see. Ron Burgundy decides to give the people what they want instead of what they need.
As his news coverage shifts to more entertainment based pieces that focus on fluff more than substance his ratings soar. At the time the ratings of GNN surge too, driven by Ron’s success. Ron becomes more successful than Veronica and his rival. However, he starts to let his fame go to his head and he becomes almost a parody of himself. At the height of his success he suffers an accident during a fantastic figure skating routine he is doing when his rival throws a cable onto the ice. Because of the accident Ron is struck blind and can no longer read the news.
With his career taken away from him he focuses on being a father to his son that he ignored while he was famous. He and his son bond and Veronica, anxious to keep that bond in place, erases messages for Ron left by a doctor who thinks that an experimental procedure may save his sight. Ron hears one of the messages by chance and contacts the doctor. His sight is eventually restored, although is angry at Veronica. Ron triumphantly returns to GNN.
Just after his return to the network Veronica pleads with him to attend their son’s school recital because their son has written a piece just for Ron. Ron, who wants to continue to have a good relationship with his son, tries to make the recital but runs into one problem after another. There is a string of mishaps and ridiculous situations that Ron has to get through before he can make it to the recital. Eventually he makes it to the recital, although not until a massive battle between his news team and his rival’s breaks out.
The level of comedy in Anchorman 2 is even greater than the first. Anytime a film combines the talents of so many talented comedic actors audiences can expect hilarious scenes that will keep them laughing for a long time. The film also manages to take some potshots at the current glut of 24 hour news networks by parodying their hysterical and often emotional rather than fact based coverage of events that occur every day. Without becoming preachy the film points out that problems that occur when news networks care more about getting ratings than they do about reporting the facts. With so many news networks under fire for poor journalism and the rising entertainment focus of their news shows the film is a great cultural satire.
There’s a lot to love about Anchorman 2. In general critics and audiences have agreed that the film is a great follow up to the original film that gave popular culture a slew of catch phrases and Internet memes based on Ron Burgundy. The film’s musical soundtrack which features Will Ferrell as well as other pop culture icons like Robin Thicke is also very popular and is charting well sales of CDs and digital downloads. Will Ferrell is almost as gifted at musical comedy as he is at comedic acting. His performances help to make the movie as legendary as you would expect a Ron Burgundy movie to be.
The stars of Anchorman 2 were asked if they would participate in a third film about Ron Burgundy and even though many of them seemed to indicate that they would be interested in doing another sequel they all agreed that there will only be an Anchorman 3 if the audience wants it. If audiences make Anchorman 2 profitable for the studio and stars then there may be an Anchorman 3 in the future. So far fans are making their desire for a sequel known by driving the box office receipts of the film to more than 109 million dollars.