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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, Kevin Corrigan, Chuck D

Directed by: Adam McKay

Produced by: Judd Apatow
Written by: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
DreamWorks Pictures


Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate in Dreamworks' Anchorman

The Channel 4 News Team
Will Ferrell in Dreamworks' Anchorman

     This review represents one of the major failures of my rating system. I should not be granting Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy a score of three buckets; it’s a stupid, silly, forgettable motion picture. These traits do not usually merit a recommendation. But, it is worthy of a night out to the movies, and according to my definition, this score is only appropriate. Anchorman is so silly it’s funny, especially because of our genuine leading actor, Will Ferrell. I’m not sure there’s anything the man can’t do; he’s a funny guy inside and out, and it is a pleasure to see his abundance of talent put to good use.

     Straight from the first few frames, which read “The following is based on a true story. Only the names, places, and events have been changed,” audiences will know that Anchorman is stupid. Usually, though, Ferrell-stupid means good-stupid, and good-stupid means laughs. And while I was worried about the quality of this film for the first twenty minutes, which basically serve as painful camera-masturbation for the otherwise hilarious star, I had been won over come its end. No matter how random the plot and dialogue may be, all is well with the world as long as they’re funny. Here, it would be a crime to deny the ingeniousness of the humor.

     Ferrell plays Ron Burgundy, the lead anchor for San Diego’s Channel 4 News, fronting his team of four casters. His three fellow newsmen are all dimwits, like him; but they all share a common obsession with sex. So, it’s only natural that when Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) begins to work for the station, they all go after her “breathtaking hinny.” Only Ron is able to succeed in winning her over, and then announces their current relationship and sexual advancements on the air, in his state of glee. However, when he is late for work one day, after a nasty encounter with a motorcyclist (Jack Black), Veronica must take over for him. After manager of the station (Fred Willard) sees a two-point increase in the show’s ratings after she takes his position for the day, he promotes her to being a co-anchor with him. However, this is appalling to Ron and the rest of the crew, seeing that women anchors are unheard of. And, as you may have guessed, trouble in paradise follows, for the couple.

     Ferrell penned the screenplay along with his writer-buddy from Saturday Night Live, Adam McKay, who also directed the movie. While the script isn’t too shabby on the whole, it represents a weakness for comedy. Most of the laughs in Anchorman are noticeably generated by the outrageous improvisations and the charisma of the cast. Ferrell’s co-star, Christina Appelgate, delivers quite a good performance, considering the fact that she’s been in a slump for years, now. This is the right role for her; not requiring too much comedy or skill to master, but still not one-note. I was surprised that she exhibited true talent here, one thing that was missing in her performance in the recent, abysmal A View from the Top. Steve Carell is also amusing as Brick Tamland, the retarded sports reporter on the news show.

     The cameos deserve special recognition. I already mentioned Jack Black’s participation in Anchorman, but he only represents the tip of the iceberg. Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Tim Robbins, and Luke Wilson all participate in a Gangs of New York style fight amongst news stations, in an absolutely hysterical sketch. Trident throwing and hand grenades should be expected in the heap of chaos.

     With Anchorman and Starsky and Hutch, it seems as though the ‘70’s are being brought back to life. The latter picture was more of a spoof of the general time period, whereas this one aims itself at more specific areas of it, through nuance. They both share the same picturesque view of the time in their hilariousness (aside from Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, and Vince Vaugn), though. I like this type of satire, and I hope that pictures of its kind only improve in the future. Anchorman makes a small step up in quality from its predecessor. Who knows what will come next? We all know we’ve been waiting for another cheery disco montage or, dare I say, a third Brady Bunch movie. Heck, if Farrell were to play Marcia, I think I’d be up for that.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (7.10.2004)

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