Ron Burgundy is San Diego's top-rated newsman in the male-dominated broadcasting of the 1970s, but that's all about to change for Ron and his cronies when an ambitious woman is hired as a ne... Read allRon Burgundy is San Diego's top-rated newsman in the male-dominated broadcasting of the 1970s, but that's all about to change for Ron and his cronies when an ambitious woman is hired as a new anchor.Ron Burgundy is San Diego's top-rated newsman in the male-dominated broadcasting of the 1970s, but that's all about to change for Ron and his cronies when an ambitious woman is hired as a new anchor.
Luckily, this isn't what "Anchorman" is. "Anchorman" is a refreshingly off-kilter outing from an unlikely source--Will Ferrell, the current reigning lord of middle-of-the-road fratboy Sandlerism. The film has a lot more in common with Mel Brooks and Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker than anything in the SNL family tree. It prizes out-and-out silliness and absurdity over bathroom humor and penis jokes (though there's plenty of the latter, don't worry), and pulls it off admirably. In essence, the key to this stuff is never letting off of the goofiness even for a second--the audience should never be allowed to take anything seriously.
"Anchorman" achieves this with exceedingly silly and bizarre dialogue complemented by killer comic performances from Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Vince Vaughn and Steve Carrel. You'd have to be lobotomized to maintain a straight face through lines like "It's made with bits of real panther. So you know it's good." and "I'm riding a big, furry tractor!" The direction and pacing are also pretty solid at times, and the requisite celeb cameos are very nicely done (especially in one particular scene which I wouldn't dream of ruining).
The film's not without its flaws, certainly. Chief among them is the wasting of one of the best comic character actors in the biz: Fred Willard. If ever there was someone born to play a smarmy local TV newsman, Willard is it. But he's inexplicably cast here as a dull station suit, while David Koechner plods through the sportscaster role that was clearly meant for him--passable but certainly not as inspired as Willard would have been. Also, I think that the story would have benefited if Vaughn and his cronies, the closest thing to villains in this lightheaded romp, had a little more face time.
But these are comparatively minor problems--the point is that Ferrel has given us something that's really funny in a way that's appreciably different from the endless SNL movie-mill. It's not Monty Python, but it is a healthy departure from what has become the comic mainstream. Most importantly, the laughs are frequent, long, and deep--check it out and you won't be disappointed.
- Jul 12, 2004