Ah, ANCHORMAN 2, the movie that everyone has been asking for since 2006. But don't worry, sequels that take almost a decade to get made are ALWAYS as good, if not better, than the original. I had all of this in mind when I walked into the theater.
I was very much expecting ANCHORMAN 2 to be a ticket for the nostalgia train without stopping to make many original jokes. I think we can all agree that the first ANCHORMAN was fantastic, and I don't think I'm breaking down any boundaries by calling it a comedy classic. That being said, sequels to comedy classics frequently fall into the trap of relying too heavily on old characters and jokes without bringing anything new to the table (I'm looking at you, HANGOVER 2- two hours of the characters physically beating a dead horse would've been the same experience as watching that movie).
I'm extremely happy to say that ANCHORMAN 2 does a pretty good job of avoiding this. Yes, there is some repetition to the jokes. But what it does well is making the story different enough from the first one. It doesn't feel like you're just watching a revamped version of the first movie; it has enough new material to stand on it's own feet and make the regurgitated stuff from the first one feel welcome. What's even better is that a lot of this new material is pretty fucking funny. There were a few points where I was almost rolling on the floor laughing. Not all of it works, but enough does to make it great.
We begin the story a number of years after the first one ends. It's now the 80's, and Ron Burgundy is living the high life in NYC with Veronica and their son. However, legendary newsman and always gruff Harrison Ford suddenly fires Ron and promotes Veronica to prime time anchor. This sends Ron Burgundy's life spinning out of control.
Months later, he's working at Sea World in A Whale's Vagina when he gets the call to be one of the anchormen of a 24 hour news network. He quickly reforms his old news team, and they embark on their journey to New York in a soon-to-be-totaled Winnebago. The news team starts their usual antics, inadvertently starting the trend of ratings-based news that we have today. Along the way, the bad guy (played by Cyclops from the X-Men movies) may or may not cause Ron to go blind. While blind, Ron may or may not bottle-feed a shark. Like I said, funny new stuff. By the way, there's also a bunch of cameos from very, very famous people. Who, may you ask? Well, let's just say I never expected to see Liam Neeson in a comedy.
I should stress that if you're going into it believing that it will be as funny as the first ANCHORMAN, you WILL be disappointed. If you're going in expecting a funny movie featuring some familiar characters, you're in luck. It's definitely good for some laughs, but the real question is whether it's Dudefest or not. Well, I'd consider raising a shark and fighting the ghost of Stonewall Jackson pretty Dudefest, but overall it's not like they do a bunch of cool shit. They do make me laugh though, and I think that's enough to recommend this to any dude who wants a laugh too.