Anchorman

"Excellent"

Anchorman Review


The full title of this film, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, is a sly reference to the documentary Pornstar: The Legend of Ron Jeremy and might indicate a subtle referential humor on the filmmakers' part. But that's about as inside as the jokes get. This film is more invested in making you laugh at flat-out absurdism than clever irony, and more often than not, it succeeds.

Anchorman launches us into the world of '70s broadcast journalism with local San Diego anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) as the poster boy for men behaving badly. His supporting anchors introduce themselves by breaking the fourth wall with all the casual gusto of their on-air personas. There's good-ol'-boy Champ Kind (David Koechner) with sports, ladies' man Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) in the field, and dumb-as-a-Brick Tamland (Steven Carell) on weather. They revel in their boys' club with gleeful ignorance of terms like "sexual harassment" until new reporter Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) enters the fray. Improbably, Ron and Veronica hit it off until a series of events puts her in the co-anchor seat and professional jealousy rips them apart, sending Ron on a downward spiral.

All of this is a mere skeleton on which screenwriters Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (who also directs) hang a series of increasingly absurd set pieces that highlight the star's ability to play the most ridiculous situations with the earnestness of a Shakespearean thespian. On his first date with Veronica, Ron breaks into a jazz flute solo. In an otherwise normal scene, Ron and his news team burst into song. Why? Because it's funnier that way.

And that really seems to be the film's motto... not a bad one for a comedy. As a result, it forgoes any semblance of a plot or social commentary, but it was never interested in that in the first place. In fact, the film's weakest moments are when it tries to act like a normal movie. These dead spots simply become waiting rooms for the next completely-out-of-nowhere sight gag or comically mystifying bit of dialogue.

The film is at its strongest when it simply lets loose, taking a gag past the next level to a place that may actually have nothing to do with where a given joke started. A scene that begins as a cute take-off on West Side Story quickly escalates into what can only be described as Battle of the Network Cameos.

A lot of the film's best moments come from McKay's willingness to let the actors find the funniest detours in any scene. Ferrell, an experienced improvisational comedian, does wonders here, but it's Carell, as something akin to an adult Ralph Wiggum, who ably steals every frame he's in.

The rest of the cast does its best to match up, though Applegate sometimes seems out of her league and Vince Vaughn (as a rival news anchor with the priceless moniker Wes Mantooth) is largely wasted. The cameos are numerous, but are more impressive for who they are than what they actually do with their screen time. A notable exception is Luke Wilson, who has a pretty funny running gag throughout the film.

Anchorman shows a Will Ferrell who's not as cuddly as he was in Elf or even Old School, but instead is allowed to explore the farthest reaches of where his sense of humor will take a fairly mediocre plot. The results may not be coherent, or even consistent, but they are often hilarious.

Splashdown in two... one...



Facts and Figures

Run time: 10 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 1st December 2009

Box Office Worldwide: $90.6M

Budget: $26M

Production compaines: DreamWorks Pictures, Apatow Productions, Herzog-Cowen Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Ron Burgundy, as Veronica Corningstone, as Brian Fantana, as Champion 'Champ' Kind, as Brick Tamland, as Ed Harken, as Garth Holladay, as Wes Mantooth, as Frank Vitchard, as Arturo Mendes, as Helen, as Eager Cameraman, as Barkeeper, as Stage Manager, Darcy Donavan as Hot Blonde, as News Station Employee, as Motorradfahrer (uncredited), as Zoo Keeper (uncredited), as Public TV News Anchor (uncredited)

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.