Borne of the sketch culture of Saturday Night Live, with consummate improvisers running fast and loose with gag-a-minute intent, the results are broad, brash and inspired - in other words, hit-and -miss. But there are enough laugh-out-loud moments to compensate for the occasional longueur.
In the previous film, the San Diego newsman's fragile ego struggled to cope with a female rival, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). Seven years later, the pair are not only married, with a son, but are co-anchors of a news show in New York. Then their boss (Harrison Ford, who is cornering the market in curmudgeons) promotes Veronica to prime-time anchor - and sacks Ron, whose ultimatum of "it's the job or me" gets exactly what it deserves.
Our fallen hero is found working as the MC of Sea World (allowing the lovely line from a girl in the crowd, "Children and animals hate you, Ron Burgundy") when offered a lifeline by the revolutionary 24-hour news channel GNN. Burgundy rounds up his even more dysfunctional cronies (played to perfection by Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner) and returns to the Big Apple.
The anarchic comedy is held together by Ferrell's marvellous creation, a man whose hubris rides one wave of comeuppance after another, and is a surprisingly satisfying poke at the era of infotainment, with Ron hailed as a visionary for his coverage of animal stories and live car chases. A final "battle of the news teams" involves an array of star guests that beggars belief.