Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – Christian Movie Review!
Parental Guidance Issues at a Glance…
Sexual Content: There is one sex scene between an unmarried couple in which a woman is seen briefly with her bra on and no shirt. The man is bare chested, and sex is implied. A person will see more skin by going to the beach and seeing people in bathing suits. A man is seen in his underwear in another scene. Two characters kiss passionately — though in a very silly way — and, after her skirt flies up as she leans against the window of a laundromat, the woman’s underwear and bottom are seen prominently. A female character aggressively seduces (and frightens) a male character with very suggestive — albeit absurd and bizarre — tactics.
Where this movie gets particularly filthy, however, is in the dialogue. These jokes are incredibly explicit. Whether a character is using lurid language and vivid metaphors to describe a sexual encounter with a transvestite or talking about sexual anatomy in great detail, the dialogue goes for shock value. There’s far too much of it to catalogue. Writing it down in any detail would be as unedifying as having you listen to it in the theater. Although visually this movie is tame in raunchiness compared to many other popular PG-13 gross-out comedies, the dialogue — which evokes detailed images in the mind — gets very gross. However, I will give this movie credit for not putting equally filthy visuals on the screen. They could have easily put up some shocking things before our eyes but, for whatever reasons, they restrained themselves.
Violent Content: Characters punch and kick each other. A fight between news gangs gets a bit violent: a mythical creature gets his arm cut off and a Canadian newscaster pulls out someone’s eye. (I never thought I’d mention those two things in the same sentence.) It is all conveyed in a very slap stick, unrealistic fashion that plays for laughs.
Language: Two f-words and a dozen or more “minor” swear words. Many crude references to male and female anatomy.
Alcohol/Drug/Smoking Content: Many of the main characters, including Ron Burgundy, smoke crack. Although there are consequences (they get arrested), it is portrayed almost as an act of cute precociousness as if they had been caught toilet papering someone’s house. All of it, like everything in the movie, is done with an absurdist tone played for laughs.
Frightening/Intense Content: A character tries to hug a great white shark and gets mauled, though it is not bloody or graphic. A character turns into a werewolf — Thriller style — and actually looks fairly frightening.
Other: There are a ton of racial jokes in this movie. It caught me off guard. No ethnic group goes unscathed. It takes the Southpark approach and uses a wide range of racial stereotypes in its jokes that make fun of everyone. Some people might be offended. However, the main characters are portrayed as obvious racists and are made to look very silly and ignorant in their racism.
Entertainment Value and Film Craft
My two favorite elements to an Anchorman movie are 1) when Ron Burgundy is doing his absurdly silly warm-up phrases and vocal exercises just before he goes on-air; and 2) when random gangs of news teams randomly show up and brawl. Anchorman 2 brings these two elements back, and they were even funnier than the first film. I would’ve been perfectly content to watch variations on those two themes for the entirety of the film.
But no. The filmmakers had to go and add plot.
Their mashup Frankenstein-like plot — though creative and hilarious at a couple points — just couldn’t quite pull it off. If anyone but Will Ferrel had starred, it would’ve been a very tedious film to sit through. The plot felt like a scattered brainstorm of ideas sewn together in a rush. Or, more accurately, it felt like four separate movie plots presented back-to-back as if I had watched a four-part TV miniseries. I wonder if the filmmakers liked their ideas so much that they couldn’t part with any of them. That is a common problem for creative people. They can’t let go. Of course, if you’re a diehard Will Ferrell or Anchorman fan, you will say “the more the merrier!” This movie is definitely aiming to please its fan base, I will give it that.
For everyone else who isn’t a rabid Burgundy fan, the movie will likely seem too long. It was as if the director just didn’t have the heart to cut anything. The “edit” button got dusty in the making of this film. Two full hours? Really? If it had been trimmed down to an hour and thirty or forty minutes, it would have been much better, in my opinion.
A strong point, however, was all of the cameos. This movie has more cameos than a Muppet movie. My jaw actually dropped open during a couple of them. There are people in this film that you would not expect to see in it. I will not give any spoilers away though. All I have to say is that the news gang brawl is without question the highlight of this film. They should’ve made the plot about them!
What really caught me by surprise is that there is a deeper layer of intelligence subtly squeezed in between all of the, well, stupidity. In one sense, Anchorman 2 plays as a brilliant satire of the modern day 24-news cycle. It parodies and poignantly hits on every sensationalist ratings-driven flaw in today’s news channels, whether liberal CNN or conservative Fox. It also exposes the shallowness of our celebrity-obsessed media. This more thoughtful motif adds an element that feels a little awkward next to all of the silliness and dirty jokes. Despite that oddness, this sub-theme actually teaches the viewer a valuable moral: don’t become so desperate for success or attention that you would do whatever it takes — no matter how sensationalist or shallow — to get people to look in your direction.
There are definitely some laugh-out-loud hilarious moments in this film. In addition, Ron Burgundy in all his glory struts across the big screen with brand new zingers and quotables that will go viral online and become a part of daily conversation in popular culture. The film even has surprising depth as a satire of the modern media meltdown that so often plagues our lives and diminishes our awareness of real news.
However, to get to the good stuff, you will have to succumb to dialogue that will fill your mind with a wide variety of things that Paul said “should not even be named among the saints.” That might come across as a joy kill for diehard Anchorman fans — and granted, this film, which is restrained at times, does not have the same raunch factor as many other comedies out there — but if I were you, save your ten dollars (plus whatever fortune you’d be forced to spend on movie snacks) and go find a more edifying way to spend two hours.
However, if you think my review is too conservative and you decide to see the movie anyways, I can’t deny that you will be treated to a wild ride of silliness that includes Will Ferrell singing a Broadway ballad of heartache to a great white shark.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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