Thursday, April 19, 2018
Things To Do

This just in — 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues' is still funny

By Steve Persall

Times Movie Critic

By the time you read this, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues will be the highest grossing movie in the history of movies, making more money than the GDP of some planets. Ron Burgundy told me so, and he's never wrong — but that depends on your definition of "never."

A few years ago, people believed there would never be a sequel to 2004's Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. They were mistaken, or else we wouldn't be doing this right now. The legend continues in, well, The Legend Continues, funnier in some ways and not in more.

When we last saw Will Ferrell's signature creation Ron, he and wife Veronica (Christina Applegate) were co-anchoring a CNN-style newscast. Well, something went toes up because they're working at a New York station in the 1980s — judging by the treacly radio hits — when part two begins. The station's esteemed anchor (Harrison Ford) is retiring, and he selects Veronica to replace him. He selects Ron to be fired.

Much scotch and an embarrassing SeaWorld gig later, Ron gets an offer from the Global News Network, an experiment in 24-hour news. Every anchorman needs a team to, um, anchor, so Ron rounds up the old Channel 4 gang. Sports guy Champ Kind (David Koechner) parlayed San Diego fame into a fried chicken (or something) restaurant. Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) quit investigative reporting to photograph cats, and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) is dead but not really.

It's a fun crew to watch rehashing what we laugh about them. Ron's stentorian bluster, his absence of civility, makes tireless comedy. Veronica's role is lessened, separated from Ron, with her feminism issues solved. Stepping in as Ron's new lady to offend is Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), a network executive whose African-American heritage confuses and arouses Ron's jungle fever. That race is so broadly played here is a stumbling point, especially a cringing Guess Who Came to Dinner and Ruined It? scene.

On the other hand, the script by Ferrell and director Adam McKay nails the question few considered when 24-hour news networks were created: What do you broadcast when there's no news? Banished to the 2 a.m. shift, Ron and his team essentially invent Fox News and happy talk journalism, with pandering stories about patriotism and pets, indecipherable graphics and lists of things that shouldn't be listed: sharper satire than expected from a movie with a gag about denim condoms.

McKay and Ferrell keep the jokes naughty not dirty and flying for shrapnel accuracy; many miss, but when one hits it counts. It doubles down on the original's signatures: another silly jazz flute solo, another epically epic rumble among TV news gangs. Like any legend, Ron Burgundy deserves a third movie, preferably skewering reality TV, and he can divide it into two movies like teenage wizards and vampires do. Never happen.

Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall on Twitter.

Comments

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBaseballOrioles at Tigers1 p.m.MLBBlue Jays at Yankees6:30 p.m.MLB; 1040-AMMarlins at Brewers8 p.m.FSFBoxingFeatherweights: Roach vs. Cruz9:30 p.m.ESPN2College baseballFlorida at Kentucky7 p.m.SECVanderbilt at Missouri8 p.m.ESPNUGolfPGA Europe: ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Plan your weekend: Kenny Chesney, ‘The Producers’ in the park, Mainsail Art Fest, Sugar Sand Fest, Earth Day

Plan your weekend: Kenny Chesney, ‘The Producers’ in the park, Mainsail Art Fest, Sugar Sand Fest, Earth Day

The top things to do April 20 to 22 in Tampa, St. Petersburg and the whole Tampa Bay area.
Updated: 8 hours ago
SoundBytes: Steel Panther, Surfer Blood, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and more

SoundBytes: Steel Panther, Surfer Blood, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and more

— Florida's own indie rockers Surfer Blood are returning to Crowbar on Aug. 24, with the Blonde Tongues opening. Tickets are $13 and up. Click here.— Hair metal satirists Steel Panther are coming to Jannus Live on Aug. 16. Tickets go on s...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Mainsail Art Festival returns to Vinoy Park. Artists to look for, where to park and more.

Mainsail Art Festival returns to Vinoy Park. Artists to look for, where to park and more.

The Mainsail Art Festival feels like an old friend. The festival has been bringing fine art and fine craft to St. Pete for almost as long as I’ve been alive. Since the first event in 1976, the festival has repeatedly been named one of the "100 Best A...
Updated: 10 hours ago
The newest trend for Tampa date nights? Indoor ax throwing

The newest trend for Tampa date nights? Indoor ax throwing

Axe Throwing Tampa and Raider Axe Lodge are bringing the axe-throwing trend to the Tampa Bay area.
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

For nearly 60 years it was breads, cakes and pastries, up before dawn for the Perrone family in Armenia Garden Estates. For a minute it looked like Tampa’s Housewife Bake Shop was going to close, but third-generation owner Tena Perrone said on Wednes...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Mainsail Art Festival returns to Vinoy Park. Artists to look for, where to park and more.

Mainsail Art Festival returns to Vinoy Park. Artists to look for, where to park and more.

Everything you need to know.
Updated: 12 hours ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 19

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 19

American Stage in the Park: The Producers: Pay What You Can/$18 in Advance: Mel Brooks’ classic cult comedy sees a down-and-out producer and his accountant scheme to produce the most notorious flop in theater history. Through May 13. 8 p.m., Demens L...
Published: 04/18/18
Four new restaurants in Tampa Bay: Brazilian steakhouse, Chinese, juice bar and more

Four new restaurants in Tampa Bay: Brazilian steakhouse, Chinese, juice bar and more

TERRA GAUCHATerra Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse, a classic churrascaria-style Brazilian meatery — you know, where the guys in South American cowboy attire walk around with the swords of meat until you capitulate in a carnivorous haze — has opened a loc...
Published: 04/18/18
This is a week to spring clean instead of hitting a movie theater.

This is a week to spring clean instead of hitting a movie theater.

It’s a spring cleaning weekend at multiplexes, with studios vacuuming every dollar from current releases before the Avengers and Amy Schumer drop in next week. If you’ve seen A Quiet Place, Ready Player One and Black Panther, this is probably a good ...
Published: 04/18/18