Film Face-off: 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy' vs. 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'

Film Face-off: 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy' vs. 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'

Dec 23, 2013

Is a sequel, just like milk, a bad choice? The mustache, the burgundy suit and that salon-quality hair are back. So is Baxter. We all wanted this, but with a sequel, you never know if you're going to leave happy. Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner and Christina Applegate return for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and thankfully, it is funny. But does the continuing legend live up to the legend? That's what you are all wondering.

Can the '70s Burgundy compete with the '80s Burgundy? Does the new blood (Kristin Wiig, James Marsden and Meagan Good) add to the laughs or just get in the way? Well, we're going to find out in this week's Film Face-off with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy vs. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

 

Ron Burgundy

Anchorman

Ron is the toast of San Diego, no matter how he pronounces it. He's king of the world until he messes up on air, getting fired. Luckily, he's down, but not out.

Anchorman 2

Ron loses out a New York anchor desk job to his now wife, Veronica. He's brought back to relevance when he's hired for the first ever 24-hour news channel.

Winner: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. I like when Ferrell is likable, and I like him a little less when he's a blowhard being ridiculously mean to everyone in the room. The original Ron has more likable moments. Plus, his character arc (yes, I know it's a comedy, but it's still nice if the lead had a purposeful journey) is a good one. We're cheering for him to evolve in the first. In the sequel, we're laughing at/with him, but his journey is more or less pointing out the downfall of our televised news. Plus, when Ron hits rock bottom in The Legend Continues, the laughs stopped for quite a while.

 

Ron's Ladies

Anchorman

We know Ron gets around, but he turns to putty when he meets Veronica Corningstone (Applegate). He has to figure out how to deal with his feelings for her, and the fact that he thinks women have no place on a news team.

Anchorman 2

Ron is married to Veronica, but immediately leaves her and their child. His new boss Linda Jackson (Good) is African-American, which leads to many uncomfortable moments showcasing Ron's idiocy with race relations.

Winner: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. When Ron and the gang break into "Afternoon Delight," it's one of the first indications that the film is capable of anything for a laugh (along with Ron talking to Baxter). That, coupled with Veronica being a strong, intelligent woman is enough for the victory here. In the sequel, Ron is just too evil and stupid to Veronica for my taste, especially when in front of their kid. Eventually, and it takes forever, Walter (Judah Nelson) has a good moment, otherwise it seemed pointless for Ron and Veronica to have a child. The race jokes between Ron and Linda are very miss, and only occasionally hit. When they do hit, it's all about cringe-worthy humor. The problem is that Linda doesn't seem fazed by it enough, especially after a family dinner that goes horribly. Consequences, even if temporary, would have been nice for Ron with his women.

 

Brick

Anchorman

"I'm Brick Tamland (Carell). People seem to like me because I am polite and I am rarely late. I like to eat ice cream and I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks. Years later, a doctor will tell me that I have an I.Q. of 48 and am what some people call mentally retarded."

Anchorman 2

In the sequel Brick is dead. Don't worry, it's just a good joke. He continues to be dim, and this time they've given him a love interest. Chani (Wiig) is the one Brick didn't know he had been searching for, and the two create a series of odd moments.

Winner: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. I am a little surprised Brick is getting his own category as well. He puts anything in his mouth, blurts out yips and screams, and can be convinced of anything. I'm falling for him. It's the lowest common denominator humor, but with Carell pulling the strings it's kind of genius. The "I'm Brick Tamland," quote from above was my favorite moment of his from the first film. Unfortunately, it was in the beginning of the film and while it wasn't exactly downhill from there, it's always rough to start at the top. When Brick and Chani are together, anything is possible. It feels like improv comedy, with two professionals perfectly playing off of each other. They create the perfect fill-in-the-gap moments. Even Brick in front of the green screen doing the weather was good stuff, and it would have probably been a moment in the trailer where I would have groaned at the potential scene (if I watched trailers).

 

Brian and Champ

Anchorman

Brian Fantana (Rudd) is the lead field reporter and Champ Kind (Koechner) is the sports anchor. Brian is the closest thing Ron has to a true friend, and Champ begins to like Ron a little too much for his taste.

Anchorman 2

Brian is perfectly content without the news, now as a cat photographer. Champ runs a fast-food chicken restaurant. Both are willing to join Ron again. Brian is a little more Ron's equal, and Champ is a little more into Ron.

Winner: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Brian is almost like Fonzie. He's not the lead, but you know he's cool enough to take over from Richie if needed. Yes, for just a second I compared Ron Burgundy to Richie Cunningham. Brian and Champ were enough in the first, and pushed it just a little too much in the second. Champ's love for Ron is probably the most regurgitated joke between the two films. Beyond that, most of Champ's humor comes from what a woman-hating (and occasionally everyone else) ass he is. His repetitive catchphrase is good farce to what becomes of sports highlight shows. Brian goes from cologne to condoms, but that's not a joke improvement.

 

The News Team Fight

Anchorman

Brick says it's a short cut, but suddenly our news team finds themselves in a news-team fight. Tim Robbins is a public news anchor, Ben Stiller is a Spanish-language news anchor, Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn are competing local anchors. There are plenty of archaic weapons to go around.

Anchorman 2

Cameo Spoilers! It looks as if we weren't going to get a news-team fight. After all the film wasn't just mimicking the beats of the first. Finally, just before the very end, we get our news team fight, complete with great cameos, amazing weapons, a ghost and a welcome return of Sex Panther.

Winner: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Part of this win is due to the fact that I felt like I hadn't really laughed for 30 minutes. So the sequel's news-team fight was a much needed breath of insane, butt-kicking air. You were properly warned, so here is the cameo list: Liam Neeson (History Channel), Sacha Baron Cohen (BBC News), Jim Carrey and Marion Cotillard (Canadian news), Kanye West (MTV news), Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (entertainment news), Will Smith (ESPN), John C. Reilly (the ghost of Stonewall Jackson), Harrison Ford, Kirsten Dunst and Vince Vaughn. Marsden is the insitgator, and he's OK throughout the film, but his running joke gets old. What's crazy is Greg Kinnear steals the show (during the fight) as Gary, Veronica's love interest. Bigger is better in this case, and everyone is giving at least one joke that hits.

 

OVERALL WINNER: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy beats Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, 3-2.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy became an epic, top 10 comedy for me only after repeat viewings. The sloppy editing hurt the first viewing, even though it was continuously funny. With Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the sloppy editing hurts, but what's worse is there are occasionally dead spots, where the jokes didn't hit, or there weren't really jokes at all. There is a nice commentary of the awful evolution of our news cycle, but they don't stick to the '80s on that, instead they eat up material that could have been saved for Anchorman 3 and beyond. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues feels equivalent to Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, which isn't a diss at all, and I look forward to seeing what is on the cutting-room floor with this sequel.

 

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