Stay classy, Hollywood

It has been nearly a decade since the debut of Ron Burgundy and his iconic ‘stache in 2004’s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” (Which, of course, is based on actual events. Only the people, places and events have been changed.)

Since then, the film and the character of Burgundy himself have certainly gained, like the title assumes, legendary status. It tops many reputable lists as being one of the funniest movies ever.

Millenials have been reciting the endless clever one-liners (like “Sweet Lincoln’s mullet!,” “I’m in a glass case of emotion!” and of course the famous “You stay classy…” ) from the first film for the last decade and are likely waiting in line today to hear more – and newsflash! They will.

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” opens up with the narrator giving the audience context as to what has happened in the last decade.

Burgundy now has a son and is happily married to the strong-willed Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), but things go sour when Corningstone is offered a position as the primetime news anchor at San Diego’s KVWN channel 4 news, while Burgundy is fired for being horrible at his job. He tells her it’s either him or the job. She chooses the job.

A few months later, he is working as an announcer at something like SeaWorld, clearly a mess, scotch in hand. After being told “Children and animals HATE you Ron Burgundy!” by a little girl, he wanders into the back room and tries to end his life (“Well Baxter, this is the end of the rope!”) and attempts to hang himself.

At that moment an old buddy comes in and finds Burgundy in shambles and offers him a new proposition that will enable Burgundy to reprise his role as a news anchor, but this time, in New York City at a new network called GNN (Global News Network), where they are trying out a whole new platform in broadcast journalism – the 24-hour news network.

Burgundy, in a hilarious sequence of events, assembles his old team from San Diego: Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) and Champ Kind (David Koechner). When they are given the 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. graveyard shift slot, Burgundy bets a rival anchor, who has the primetime slot, that despite their unfortunate early-morning time, they will still somehow beat the primetime ratings.

When discussing what they will do to beat the primetime ratings, Burgundy, in a moment of pure genious, says “Instead of telling the people what they NEED to hear, why don’t we tell them what they WANT to hear?” And thus, he makes history by reporting on things like cats, car chases and patriotism.

Of course, ratings skyrocket as middle- and- lower-class Americans become hooked. From there, Burgundy is promoted and as the movie escalates, so does Burgundy’s ego.

At a two-hour runtime, the film runs a bit long with a few lulls that the film could probably have done without. But the ending is likely the best part of the film; in a hilarious parody of all of the new types of “news” networks on television now, a raging battle ensues with cameos from a heap of celebrities like Kanye West, Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Tina Fey and more.

But all malarky aside, the movie does send a message about broadcast news today, about how nonsensical it is in its infusion of opinion and guided rhetoric, leaving behind traditional and once-admirable journalistic values that used to reign supreme in America’s not-so-distant past.

Will this sequel be as legendary as its predecessor? Only time will tell (and a DVD-release of the uncut version). But one thing is for sure, it will certainly make audiences laugh.

So, by the beard of Zeus, go see it. After all, the man began his career in Williamsport.

3.5 out of 4 stars