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Susan Granger's review of 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'

Published 2:12 pm, Friday, December 27, 2013
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You have to admire how Will Ferrell has been relentlessly promoting this sequel to 2004's "The Legend of Ron Burgundy." His 70 different Dodge Durango commercials upped Chrysler's year-over-year sales 59 percent in October and 36 percent in November. Indeed, Ferrell has established his arrogant news anchor persona as part of our pop culture, just as Peter Sellers was indelibly identified as bumbling Inspector Clouseau.

This begins in Manhattan in 1980, when Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) and his co-anchor wife, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), are summoned to the office of the head news honcho (Harrison Ford), where Veronica's promoted but Ron's fired. Furious, Ron deserts Veronica and their son Walter (Judah Nelson), departing for Sea World back in San Diego, where he once again fumbles. But then an enterprising producer (Dylan Baker) offers him a gig on Global News Network, the first 24-hour cable news channel, allowing him not only to reunite his old team for this new venture but also to try to win back Veronica, who has taken up with a psychotherapist (Greg Kinnear).

The visionary secret of Ron's success this time `round is simple: "Why tell people what they need to hear? Why not tell them what they want to hear?" As long as ratings rise, that works for GNN's Aussie owner (Josh Lawson) and general manager (Meagan Good), while humiliating Ron's vain rival (James Marsden).

Fearlessly scripted by Ferrell and director Adam McKay, it's a distinctively character-driven comedy, focusing on the improvisational quirkiness of investigative reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), sportscaster Champ Kind (David Koechner), and wacky weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), who falls desperately in love with an equally daft GNN secretary (Kristen Wiig). All this builds to a crescendo when the competing news teams confront one another, aided and abetted by an impressively star-studded cluster of surprise cameos, including the ghost of Stonewall Jackson and a Minotaur.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" is a slyly silly, subversively stupid 6, which is exactly what you'd expect.