News anchorman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is now in New York City with his wife and co-presenter Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), and they appear on the local news there, though they are not the lead hosts, as that job still goes to veteran Mack Tannen (Harrison Ford), one of the most respected in the industry. However, today he has invited them both up to his office, and they are understandably nervous not least because Tannen has been rumoured to be thinking of retiring soon and the company will be seeking someone to take over that role. There they sit, the giant of broadcasting staring at them, and the questions begin, until he drops the bombshell: oh, he'd like Veronica to replace him, but Ron Burgundy is fired.
After the cult success of the first Anchorman movie, the anticipation for a sequel had reached fever pitch among the fans by the point almost ten years later that it finally arrived, and the reaction was a huge, resounding, bellowing... shrug. Seems there were not that many too impressed with what Ferrell and his co-writer/director Adam McKay conjured up this time around, seems most people thought this was pretty stupid where the original had been - well, wait a minute, the original had been pretty stupid too, so why was that a much-quoted hit and this was regarded as very much an afterthought? Particularly in light of them having much the same sense of humour?
The only real wrong note sounded was the extended screen time given to supporting character Brick Tamland, as thanks to a major TV sitcom Steve Carell who played him was now as big a star as Ferrell, when he really should have been left with the same amount of (lesser) importance as before. But that was all that unbalanced the movie, as Brick and new lady love Chani Lastnamé (Kristen Wiig) had sequences where their improvisation techniques, a big part of the original, faltered. You could argue not only was there too much of them, but there was too much of everything else as well since part 2 had a whole half hour longer to play with, which did grow exhausting as McKay tried to pay tribute to what had made the source so beloved among comedy aficionados.
That said, when there was so much of it there were bound to be parts where the humour hit the target, and the sheer absurdity of what happens to Ron, as if he were in some eighties soap opera rather than a comedy, was bound to elicit solid laughs among those who hadn't made their minds up this was a loser. From our hero's racial issues where he ends up dating his boss Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), including a hilarious love scene where the breaking down of barriers was represented with clips of such TV events as Diff'rent Strokes as they smooched, to his getting the gang back together for the proposed 24 hour rolling news only for Ron to mistake the Winnebago cruise control for autopilot which sees them all careening off the road in ludicrous slow motion, there was plenty to tickle the funny bone for those sympathetic.
On the other hand, an element of the original that was amplified here was the satire. In the first instalment it was sexism the humour took potshots at, and that was a lot more comfortable for the audience than what was in their sights this time around, which was what could charitably be called the dumbing down of news. Burgundy was an idiot, but the information he was relaying at least had some worth to his local community, yet when he got to a national scale with the Global News Network he reduces the news to his level of idiocy, telling viewers not what they needed to know but what they wanted to hear, reinforcing even the most spurious stereotypes and keeping them quiet with endless cute animal stories. You can imagine audiences thinking, hey, I LIKE cute animal stories and messages of how patriotic I am in the greatest country on the planet, and as a result not keen on being told they were consuming the television equivalent of fast food. Rest assured, it did end with another inter-station battle packed with cameos, but attempted something provocative too.