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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.