Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy

"Weak"

Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy Review


There is a sub-genre of comedy that Saturday Night Live alumni seem to specialize in which I've decided to dub the "wouldn't it be funny if" movie. The defining characteristics are as follows:

1) Begin with flimsy, 25-words-or-less premise. (Wouldn't it be funny if Will Ferrell wore a bad wig and a bushy mustache to play a phony-baloney male chauvinist news anchor in the 1970s?)

2) Expand on this premise and explore its comic possibilities only to the extent of creating an endless supply of sophomoric sex jokes. (Wouldn't it be funny if Christina Applegate played the country's first female news anchor, who threatens Ferrell's insecure manhood?)

3) Sit around a room with a bunch of writers and say "Wouldn't it be funny if..." until you have enough random, unrelated, one-off gags to fill up six reels of film plus closing-credits out-takes.

And 4) When said gags fall flat, cut the actors loose to mug furiously for the camera and loudly ad-lib attempted catch-phrases until somebody yells "Cut!"

Many a sketch-comedy veteran relies on "wouldn't it be funny if" concepts for their Hollywood livelihoods, and Ferrell is their current patron saint. He and rookie director Adam McKay (a former "SNL" head writer) co-wrote "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," in which the comedian plays an arrogant but inept, childish ninny of a blow-dried TV newsman (as opposed to all the other arrogant, inept, childish ninnies he's played in his career).

It's a movie with a few golden moments of out-loud hilarity (a "West Side Story" rumble between rival on-location news teams), with a healthy disrespect for the superficiality of local TV journalism (a pregnant panda is "the big story of the summer!"), and with a number of good laughs that don't translate well to print (Ferrell getting sex advice from his dog).

It also boasts another scene-stealing performance from "The Daily Show's" Steve Carell, who upstaged Jim Carrey as another conceited anchor in "Bruce Almighty" and here does the same to Ferrell as a blundering weatherman with an IQ of 48. And without having to steal anyone's thunder, Applegate continues to prove how much better she is than her material, bringing real character to her underwritten role (just as she did in 2002's "The Sweetest Thing") and giving better than she gets in verbal cat fights with Ferrell.

But while McKay has a sharp eye for both broad chuckles and comedy minutia (the gung-ho Texan sports reporter on Ferrell's show looks vaguely ridiculous because his cowboy hat is a couple sizes too big for his head), even at its best the movie's inconsistent clowning cannot make up for the fact that "Anchorman" relies on empty-headed conventionality for its story structure.

Just once couldn't we have a movie in which the intelligent, beautiful, self-possessed female lead -- who is clearly, and in every way, superior to the dense, immature self-centered male lead -- does not forgive him an entire litany of unfixable faults to make for a so-called happy ending? I mean, does Will Ferrell really think audiences will care enough about this unlovable jackass that they'd be disappointed if he didn't get the girl?

Good dumb fun can be lowbrow without being lazy (see "Dumb and Dumber," Ferrell's own hit Christmas comedy "Elf," or the upcoming stoners-with-the-munchies road-trip flick "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle"), but bite-sized episodes of creative lunacy are not by themselves enough to qualify "Anchorman" as the kind of dumb worth paying to see.



Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th July 2004

Box Office USA: $84.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $90.6M

Budget: $26M

Distributed by: Dreamworks

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

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Fresh: 130 Rotten: 66

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

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)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

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.