(2013) If ludicrous, loony, and lewd (or if you prefer silly, stupid, and salacious) fit your definition of funny, then you might enjoy this comedy sequel to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy more than I did. The opening scene of a shark and Ron Burgundy (Will Farrell) thrashing in the ocean put me in mind of TIME's cover (12/30/2013): more on the shark (a bottle-fed foundling named Doby) later in the movie.
Weekend news-anchor team Ron (claiming to be "full-blown 100% Mexican, straight out of the state of Oaxaca") and now wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) - "If you've got an ass like the North Star, wise men are gonna want to follow it" - are called into the office of Mack Tannen (Harrison Ford), legendary network anchor, who announces to the couple he's retiring and promoting Veronica to become the first female to anchor a national TV station's primetime news program, while firing Ron for being the worst newscaster he's ever seen.
Ron returns to San Diego (which he pronounces differently as "Sawn Dee-ayy-go") for a brief stint at Sea World before Freddie Schapp (Dylan Baker), executive producer for New York-based Global News Network (GNN), offers him a position with the world's first 24/7 televised news service. Ron recruits his former team for the gig in New York City: racist homophobe ("I believe in two things: chicken, and that the census is a way for the UN to make your children gay") sportscaster Champ Kind (David Koechner), who owns his own fast-food chicken outlet (using bats, "chicken of the cave"); newscaster Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), successful in his pussycat-photography business; and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), whom he finds at Brick's own funeral service, officiated by Ed Harken (Fred Willard).
Given the 2am-to-5am slot on GNN - "What? That's the graveyard shift!" Ron exclaims, but Brick declares: "I ain't afraid of no ghost!" - Burgundy recklessly wagers that he and his team can beat the primetime ratings of GNN's star Jack Lime (James Marsden), promising to quit and leave NYC if he fails, but if he wins Lime has to refer to himself on air as "Jack Lame." His boss, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), is "African and American," that is, as Ron can't cease repeating: "Black."
Unwilling to have Ron back, Veronica has taken a lover, Gary (Greg Kineear), a psychologist; Ron struggles to connect with his seven-year-old son Walter (Judah Nelson), wondering if the boy's "a midget with a learning disability." As he and the others brainstorm ideas for their opening show, Ron comes up with an inspired inquiry: "Why do we have to tell the people what they need to hear? Why don't we tell them what they want to hear?"
Based on the characters director/co-writer Adam McKay and co-writer Farrell previously created, this broad, bizarre satire is a send-up of how TV news became infotainment in the early 1980s, with long, live coverage of low-speed car chases, sex-themed stories, biased reporting, fictional events, repeated reassurances of America as the greatest nation on the planet.
Brick falls in love with an incompetent receptionist, Chani Lastnamé (Kristen Wiig), both of whom have never been on a date or kissed someone. Brian's piece on airplane parts mysteriously falling out of the sky fails to past muster with GNN's Australian owner, Kench Allenby (Josh Lawson), who also owns Koala Airlines and expects "synergy" between his businesses.
Just as Burgundy's fame has him on GNN's summit, he suffers an ice-skating accident, making him sightless, which renders his other senses as well inoperable: "I am blind!" Trying to get to Walter's piano recital, during which the child will be performing his own composition dedicated to his father, Ron encounters several news teams - Jack Lame's, the BBC, ESPN, among others - in Central Park ready for a rumble with him. Burgundy rides the shark.
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