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

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

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.