If you like films beginning and ending with human-versus-shark fights or seeing how long Steve Carell can fake laughter — man, does Paramount Pictures have a movie for you.
In the long-awaited sequel to 2004’s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” news anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) meets a harsh reality when he gets fired and his wife, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), is promoted to nightly news anchor at WBC in New York.
His luck turns around when scouted for a position at the fledgling, 24-hour news network GNN. Rallying his old San Diego news team, including Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Champ Kind (David Koechner) and Brick Tamland (Carell), Burgundy starts his climb back up the ladder to a primetime slot on the groundbreaking network.
The trouble comes for Ron when he allows his career to become more important than his family or his friends, forsaking loyalty to success and effectively ruining everything. He must learn to set his priorities straight if he is ever going to be able to look himself in the mirror again.
With a star-studded group of cameo appearances, including Drake, Kanye West, Sacha Baron Cohen and a smorgasbord of other celebrities in an international news team brawl at the end of the film, the production team pulled no punches in their mission to ensure this sequel would not flop like other franchise follow-ups have in the past.
The development of previously underrated characters, like loveably stupid Brick, who meets and later marries Chani (Kristen Wiig) in arguably the best subplot line of the movie, keeps audiences engaged through the end of the film. Carell, in general, shines alongside Ferrell as multifaceted, funny man with all-encompassing approaches to characterization.
Newcomers to the Ron Burgundy story held their own pretty well, with Meagan Good playing Burgundy’s boss and partial love interest Linda Jackson and James Marsden playing Burgundy’s rival Jack Lime. Though they were secondary characters, both added to the heavy-hitting performances of the lead actors in their abilities to play back and forth in scenes.
Slapstick, stupid comedies are best kept short, and “Anchorman 2,” with its 119-minute runtime, overstayed its welcome by about 30 minutes. Despite occasional dragging moments, though, this sequel did not disappoint and will keep you laughing until the last shot.
“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” is set to open nationwide Wednesday.
An earlier version of this story stated that Ron Burgundy’s (Will Ferrell) news team was based in San Francisco. In fact, it was based in San Diego.