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‘Anchorman 2’ comedic holiday miracle

Lapacazo Sandoval | 1/2/2014, 10:55 a.m.

Ron Burgundy—the one and, thankfully, the only—is back, and New York City is his oyster! In the rough-and-tumble world of hard news, seven years have raced by, and he and his now co-anchor and wife, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), are on the precipice in their life and careers.

When Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is offered the once-a-lifetime chance to be in on the world’s first 24-hour global cable news network, GNN, he rounds up his classic news team—racist, sexist and clueless sports guy Champ Kind (played brilliantly by David Koechner), man on the street Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and idiot savant weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell)—and heads to the Big Apple.

Everything about the news biz is changing. For the first time in his career, Ron has a powerful African American boss, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), and an Australian multi-millionaire network owner named Kench Allenby (Josh Lawson) whose idea of synergy may or may not be legal.

Rounding out the ambitious news team is popular lead anchor Jack Lime (James Marsden), who is determined to let his good looks do all the work.

Paramount Pictures presents a Gary Sanchez Production an. Apatow Production an Adam McKay Film, directed by Adam McKay, and written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Read that sentence again; it’s funny and a massive clue to the texture of the comedy.

Wait, please, there is more. I can’t share the complete cast credit block for “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” because of the hilarious and perfectly placed cameos that litter this flick. To reveal just one famous face is a crime, somewhere, in the complex world of comedy.

OK, I’m a rebel and I’m not afraid of comedy jail. In the epic cameo explosion, director-writer McKay allows a grave injustice to befall one of my favorite, mythical beasts, and I’m smarting from the blatant lack of reverence.

Big question—is it worth your time and holiday money? Yes, and here’s why: The first installment “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” released by DreamWorks in the summer of 2004, wasn’t a fluke. McKay has a distinctive compositional style that—dare I write this—is both sophisticated and touching.

The key to the verve is that it’s a strutting oxymoron: brash, loud and demanding, but also insightful, reflective and generous. The “please love me” desperation of all of the characters (even by an abandoned baby shark) is the key ingredient that makes the foolishly sentimental labor of love worth your hard-earned coin.

Colleagues will note the films’ length but to strip it down would be losing the pure silly, delightful, messy goo. Next year, I suggest a full director’s cut (in limited release) to open the holiday season in select cities for long, deep, feel-good belly laughs.

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” opened Dec. 18.