The Legend of
back to a time before cable. There were far fewer than 57
channels, and we did not know that there was nothing on.
If you remember living in such primitive times, when "…people
believed everything they heard on television," then you
know how much truth lies in Anchorman. For the rest
of you, it may just seem goofy, and that's okay, because
we like goofy.
in the early 1970's, the film has the look down pat. Bright
polyesters carry the day, and if star Will Ferrell's perfect
coif also has a synthetic look, it's intentional. News anchor
Ron Burgundy savors his role as the most trusted man in
San Diego, oblivious to the irony that he hardly knows what
he's saying. In truth, he hardly knows anything. Though
he loves his city, Ron labors under the impression that
the name "San Diego" comes from the German, meaning something
a good time to be a man, and with his Action News Team,
Ron enjoys his life. They've gone to the same party for
fifteen years, he comments, and it never gets old. So why
does his face crumble into his drink when he says it?
know the way it goes, especially once Ron meets Veronica
Corningstone (Christina Applegate). She serves as both his
rival, trying to become the first woman anchor in America,
and his one true love. He can't handle either.
joke of the movie takes the concept of the boys' club that
newsrooms (and many, many other places) were in those days
and turns them into real boys. None of the team have any tools
to deal with real emotion; even in their thirties, they still
giggle insanely when you say "boobies." It's even doubtful
that they have sex, though they're surrounded by willing women.
The most roving reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) admits
to is making out. It's no wonder that Ron returns every night
to his swinging bachelor pad alone except for his best friend
Baxter - "a tiny Buddha."
the film establishes its reality, it riffs wildly. Though
Ferrell and Adam McKay wrote a script, director McKay obviously
also let his cast improvise heavily. Even the scripted portions
have a sense of the improv scene. If a pop song will carry
the emotion, go ahead and sing it. (That also reminds us
that the seventies had some really, really bad pop songs.)
Throw in an animation sequence while you're at it. Anything
and everything goes, but with a purpose.
direction also betrays his improv roots, occasionally lingering
on scenes just a bit longer than might be comfortable for
audiences. But that's okay; if you don't like Ferrell's
style of wringing every last bit out of a joke, you're not
at this movie anyway.
if you're not a Ferrell fan, he's one of a group of comics
that spreads the laughter around. Almost everybody gets
a memorable moment, and often in opposition to their usual
personas. For a change, Fred Willard plays a smart character.
The dry style Rudd showed on Friends gives way to
a swaggering innocence that plays well. Only David Koechner
as sportscaster Champ Kind does a variation on his usual
schtick - bad-dictioned motormouth - but since this is his
highest profile (and best) movie role, only those of us
who remember his year on SNL will care.
the role ends up being small, Steve Carell almost steals
the movie. Playing the most ineffectual member of the Action
News Team, weatherman Brick Tamland, Carell has a strangled
delivery that makes the most out of every line.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy seems like
it was a lot of fun to make. Thankfully, it's also a lot
of fun to watch.