(USA TODAY) -- When did the news get awesome?
It's a question a viewer asks while watching blowhard newsman Ron Burgundy narrate a live car chase in
It's not unusual for comedies to sink to silly-stupid depths. A rare few are bona fide silly-funny. Anchorman, and now its follow-up, fall into the latter category of inspired lunacy.
The movie cleverly spoofs the 24-hour TV news cycle, as well as sexism and racism in the workplace. Not every scene is equally funny, of course, but most of the comic antics generate laughs.
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It's 1980 in this follow-up to the '70s-era Anchorman, and Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is no longer the top newsman in San Diego (pronounced San De-ahh-go by the lame-brained Burgundy). He's been run out of the business and works as a SeaWorld announcer.
He is, however, as inappropriate and boorish as ever, prompting a kid to yell: "Children and animals hate you, Ron Burgundy!"
His inept former news team, dim-witted weatherman Brick Tamland (
The chemistry and improvisational energy of this comic quartet fuel the comedy. They inhabit their motley crew of characters with outrageous flair. And Ferrell is spot-on as the buffoonish Burgundy.
Burgundy is offered an on-air gig by a news start-up - GNN (Global News Network), the first 24-7 news organization. He rounds up his team, vowing: "I'm gonna go do what God put Ron Burgundy on this Earth to do: have salon-quality hair and read the news."
The mustachioed Burgundy takes an ultra-patriotic stance in his first newscast and reports upbeat news. ("Don't just have a great night," he tells viewers. "Have an American night.") The approach quickly wins the hearts of TV watchers.
Burgundy and former co-anchor
Screenwriters Ferrell and Adam McKay, who also directs, reprise the wackier elements from the first movie. Burgundy indulges in a jazz flute solo and his canine sidekick Baxter is still on hand, lively as ever, despite the passing of the years.
In the original, one of the funniest segments was a rumble between competing news teams. (The few rules to this nasty fight entail not touching the face or hair, though outright annihilation is fine.) A similar, but more elaborate, gag here is boisterously humorous.
As a bonus, the comedy, produced by
While it may not be as quotable as its predecessor, Anchorman 2 still is wacky fun. And who can resist brave little Baxter tackling yet another predator and saving the day once more?