Undoubtedly at the top of his career, Will Ferrell seeks a continuation of his success with Anchorman, a film about a really stupid anchorman in the 1970's. Ferrell, whose recent efforts have included the hilarious Old School and box office hit Elf, shows that he does have what it takes to be a leading man, even though Anchorman may be a bit too stupid for a few people out there.
Subtitled The Legend of Ron Burgandy, Anchorman examines the life of a popular news anchor in 1970's San Diego. He has the bad hair, the cheesy mustache and everything else that makes a man popular, even if he doesn't have a clue about what journalism is. When a beautiful woman (Christina Applegate) who actually has an intellect shows up at the station, Ron is at first intrigued - that is until he finds out that she will be co-anchoring with him. In a society and industry where men rule, there is not enough room for the both of them, and while they are both romantically interested in one another, it is going to be war...
Very little can be said in this review to change someone's mind as whether to see Anchorman or not; the first time the previews played, most people decided right then and there. Ferrell has a big following of fans who find him to be one of the funniest men alive, and then there are those that see him as only the next successor of the SNL-esque comedians, who have the tendency to make their mark for a few years and then fade off. Anchorman is a movie for those that enjoy silly humor; anyone who doesn't should probably just stop reading this review right now.
Anchorman is funny from beginning to end, mainly thanks to Ferrell's incessant and skillful need to be zany at all moments of filming. Ferrell is so good at turning even the worst material into something witty that there is really no point in analyzing the script; the only thing that can be said is that the script obviously gave Ferrell and the rest of the cast free range to work their magic, and also throws in some calculated jabs at the television journalism. For instance, for the entire movie all of the news stations are clambering over the story of a pregnant panda at the zoo, labeling it as "the story of the decade." Funny enough, this isn't too far from the truth as local news tends to put a huge emphasis on unimportant animal stories.
By the way, Steve Carrell as Brick is also quite hilarious.
The movie succeeds by always being goofy and never taking itself seriously; it never stops to take a breath or really allow us to get to know a character better, because that would just be cheesy. Again, it might be a bit too stupid for some. I was a huge fan of Old School because it was funny without relying on overly dumb material; on the other hand, I was not as big of a fan of Zoolander because it did rely on overly dumb (albeit intentionally) material. Anchorman does drift toward the direction of Zoolander in its approach, so just keep that in mind.
There is nothing inherently wrong with Anchorman, and it will undoubtedly become a fan favorite for some, but its casualness toward stupidity will not interest everyone. It is entertainment and enjoyable, but not a movie that I can love.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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