(Adam McKay, 2013)
This overlong sequel resembles the now-classic original Ron Burgundy film in that it is extremely hit-and-miss. But the hit rate has undeniably dropped while the pacing has slowed, the plotting has more-or-less evaporated, and the characters remain largely (often extremely funny) caricatures.
Here Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell, also co-writing) finds himself working at a new venture; 24-hour News Network GNN, funded by a maverick Australian millionaire and run by a sassy black female executive Linda Jackson (Meagan Goode). He and his news team of oddballs (Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell and David Koechner) revolutionise television news with a single broadcast, replacing stories with gossip, titillation and jingoism, and become massive celebrities along the way.
The satirical edge to that account of the evolution of tv news is probably the best thing here, but Ferrell and McKay make sure to fill out around it with lots of business. Most obviously (and reflecting his increased status) Steve Carrell's Brick is given much more to do, resulting in some of the biggest laughs here, especially when he meets Chani (Kirsten Wiig) and is instantly smitten. Like the original, this feels like a series of linked sketches, and some sketches work far better than others: the interlude after Ron has been rendered blind is inspired, as is his meeting with the family of Linda Jackson, during which he talks what he imagines is "black". The likes of James Marsden as a smarmy rival anchorman and Greg Kinnear as his wife's new lover both do well with their parts.
But while it is bloated and suffers from intermittent longeurs, I can imagine that this is a film, like the original, that will only improve with subsequent viewings.