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Reviews: Anchorman 2 The Legend Continues

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Not a legend, still a worthy successor
Let me begin by pointing out the bad of the film, such as the excess with Brick. In addition to his being given more focus over Champ and Brian, Brick also finds a love interest that leads to a subplot that doesn't add much to the whole story, leaving Brick forced into the spotlight with little of his original character intact while Ron's other cohorts receive just enough focus to stay one step above Satellite Character status. In addition, there's also how the film tries to be too random for its own good (the Doby subplot, reuniting the news team, etc.). Part of what made the first film so great was that it was off-kilter in its own right, but knew how to do so in moderation; the crazy wasn't the focus of the whole movie, but gave it a style all its own. With The Legend Continues, whether it's a reference to the original film or not, it focuses less on the characters and a bit more on the antics they get themselves into.

That said, the film doesn't miss the mark altogether. There's still a fair share of original jokes, and some of the best hit the first film's quality (smoking crack live and Ron's dinner with his boss' family as a few examples). The references to the first film, hit or miss, thankfully, look at it as a nod towards the first film and its fans, so in that regard, it pays homage to a trip that shouldn't be taken seriously and, again, randomness aside, can't be faulted for it. And despite my complaints with the increased insanity in the film, it isn't entirely bad. The newscaster brawl 2, as an example, takes the original, which was grand because it came out of nowhere, and makes it grand by taking what everyone expects and making it the most over-the-top part of the whole film, like Will Smith calling in airstrikes or Stonewall Jackson's ghost stealing mens' souls.

To summarize, the film doesn't know what it wants to do. It wants to be The Legend of Ron Burgundy: Greatest Hits one minute before tossing in its own stylings and twists, completely independent of the original, the next. It suffers some for it, and undoubtedly won't be as remembered as the original, but still adds enough of its own flair to stand out and prove itself worthy of its title.
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A lot like the first.
Completely unsubtle commentary? Check. Uneven comedy that runs screaming back and forth between painfully bad and inspired? Also check. I give this movie an A for the effort. The first movie was an uneven mess but we all remember the good stuff because it was good enough to justify the mess. The weird Brick quotes, the newscaster brawl, etc. If you don't go back and watch the first movie, you'll think this one is awful by comparison. If you do rewatch it, you'll find this is a worthy enough sequel. It looks like they chose to handle the burden of following the first movie by just ignoring that burden and doing what they wanted and it kind of works. Its worth watching but inevitably won't be as memorable.

Spoilers:

The sequel's newscaster brawl kind of sums the whole situation up. They make it even bigger and more bizarre than the first. Brick inexplicably had a gun the first time, now he inexplicably has a gun from the future (doubles a brick joke, and its probably my favorite bit). There are probably 2 to 3 times as many celebrities in the fight, the weapons are bigger and badder, and they tried to add to the randomness factor by adding various mythical creatures. I think they knew that they couldn't recapture the magic of the first fight. That one worked because it was new and completely unexpected. But they could celebrate the first fight by making the second as big and random as possible. And that's kind of how this whole movie works. More is less in this sequel but its still better than nothing.
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