Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual humor, language and violence
Running Time: 93 min.
Cast: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, David Koechner, Fred Willard, Chris Parnell, Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Tim Robbins, Missi Pyle
Director: Adam McKay
Screenplay: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Will Ferrell (Old School, Elf) delivers again, with a little help from his friends, in this scattershot comedy that just manages to hit just enough hilarious moments to look past the fact that there just isn't a well-developed, cohesive movie here. Anchorman is perhaps the first movie that captures the absurd conceptual humor that Ferrell came to be known for during his stint on Saturday Night Live", which should come as no surprise, since Ferrell co-wrote the screenplay along with "SNL" writer Adam McKay, who makes his feature length film debut as a director.
Ferrell plays Ron Burgundy, the #1 anchorman in San Diego in the late 70s, when the news room was ruled by men in almost all the positions except reporter. Enter Veronica Corningstone (Applegate, View from the Top), a highly ambitious and headstrong newswoman who would like to be the anchor of a news show herself. Ron and the rest of his cohorts have some fun humoring the young woman, especially since they all want to get her in the sack, but the public just might be ready for a female co-anchor, which isn't acceptable to old-fashioned Ron.
Humor is in the funny-bone of the beholder, and a film that's as all over the map as Anchorman is bound to annoy just as many people as it leaves in stitches. From my perspective, there is only about one good joke for every two that fizzle, but when it amuses, it is laugh-out-loud hilarious. It didn't take long before I grew willing to overlook the comic misfires and silly plot, and just take it for what it is trying to be -- funny.
How much you enjoy Anchorman will probably be directly tied in with how funny you find Will Ferrell, and especially his style of humor as it played out in sketch comedy. With a ton of cameo appearances, sporadic asides, and outlandish hijinks, Ferrell puts out all stops to try to make you laugh. As a satire, it's far too broad to consider as a good one, but dammit, it made me laugh, and if that's all you're looking to do, I'd say to give this crazy, silly gag-fest a shot.
©2004 Vince Leo