Anchorman 2 only shows flashes of the success of the first

anchorman-2-the-legend-continues-sliceI WENT into Anchorman 2 with an open mind, I knew it couldn’t compare to the first but I expected things to more or less pick up from where Anchorman left off. For the first thirty minutes or so, it did. Ron was back, inappropriate as ever, starting fights at SeaWorld and drinking his trademark scotch. The gang were also back together, Champ being weirdly fixated on Ron, Brian being obsessed with the ladies and Brick being absorbed with his own simple world. The whole group dynamic, which I loved from the previous film, was back, each character bringing laughs from their own brand of comedy. However when the Channel 5 news team get to New York, the film seems to fall apart.

The film becomes centred on Ron, and now his character is widely different. His bravado and unrelenting self-confidence is gone;  now he is pushed around by nearly everyone, including his new boss, his colleagues; even his ex-wife now calls the shots. He seems pathetic compared to the Ron Burgundy of old we all loved, and it’s rarely funny to watch. The rest of the gang are sidelined. Champ barely speaks again in the film and Brian seems to  just loiter around in the background. Brick has a side story but to me he is no longer funny, since all he does is scream and gesture wildly. In the first film Brick’s stupidity had a witty edge, for example hilariously mixing up a chat up line and asking if anyone wanted to come to the pants party (party in his pants). There is one time this is glimpsed at in Anchorman 2, but it’s drowned out with overacting.  There are many half finished jokes and throwbacks to running gags from the previous film, but because most have seen them in Anchorman already, they don’t have the same hilarious comic effect. Notably, and seemingly just because Ron has an African-American boss, there are several poorly judged racial jokes which seem to offend more than shock many in the cinema watching.

anchorman2_a-640x360What made the first film is the banter the gang had; singing ‘Afternoon Delight’ out of nowhere, the showdown between the Channel 4 news team. There was a hilarious idea of these serious men who behaved like gangs from the 50s playing dice and knife fighting. This was capitalised in the huge fight scene, one of my favourite moments in comedy cinema; the escalation, the reaction of Brian when dragged in a net by two anchormen on horses, Brick’s hand grenade. There is a fight scene similar to this is Anchorman 2, which I was waiting the whole film for, but Ron doesn’t even want to take part! The resulting  fight seems laboured, and the escalation again has already been done before, making the whole thing predicable and stale.

If Anchorman 2 was a standalone film, I feel it would seem more funny and fresh, but the original casts a long shadow over the film. Apart from the beginning with flashes of the old Ron, I was disappointed.