WOMEN
01/03/2014 11:17 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

What ‘Anchorman 2′ And Will Ferrell's Career Tell Us About Masculinity And Feminism

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the sequel to director Adam McKay’s 2004 smash and cultural touchstone Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy, is by no means a good movie. The film, which follows titular news anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) from San Diego to the big time in New York and the rise of cable news is too eager to repeat comedic beats from its predecessor, and is hampered by confused character motivations and a long diversion involving a not-so-tame shark. But what Anchorman 2 does do is solidify the most significant theme of Will Ferrell’s career: the ways in which masculine ideals harm men even as they help them, and the desperate need for a feminist movement that helps men figure out what they actually want out of life.

What makes Ron Burgundy both repulsive and hilariously sympathetic is the ways in which Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy makes clear that the privileges that made his path thus far as smooth as Scotch have also left him woefully unprepared for a competitive workplace. That competition arrives in the form of Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), a sharp, ambitious reporter, who leaves Ron entirely befuddled because, rather than simply being available for him to ogle, regale with tales of his reporterly prowess, and make animated love to, she appears to want his job. When Ron’s sports reporter, Champ Kind (David Koechner), declares that “It is anchor man, not anchor lady. And that is a scientific fact,” he’s trying to forestall the prospect of having to compete with women by disqualifying them from even entering the arena.

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