Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

(On DVD, May 2011) Will Ferrell’s usual kind of comedy leaves me cold, but various people kept telling me that Anchorman wasn’t just “any other Will Ferrell movie.”  They’re right, but not by much: While Anchorman does indeed feel like a more fully-featured comedy than “any other Will Ferrell movie”, in large part due to the comic intent to revisit the TV news universe of the seventies, it doesn’t stray too far away from the arrested adolescence, casual misogyny and profane nonsense that seems to characterise his career.  While Anchorman seemingly wants to be making some kind of statement about dumb patriarchy facing the rise of professional women, it does seem to enjoy making sexist jokes quite a bit and for the entire duration of the film.  What it does have running for it, however, is a large streak of absurdist comedy, a fair number of catchphrases (“Stay classy, San Diego”), the sense that there are a few attempts at characterization (Ferrell’s “Ron Burgundy” goes beyond being Ferrell to an actual comic character) and an all-out brawl that serves a better purpose as an on-screen reunion of several film comedians from Ben Stiller to Vince Vaughn to Tim Robbins.  Christina Applegate also holds her own against the boys of the picture, which isn’t a small achievement given how often she’s the butt of the jokes.  It’s not exactly a bad film, but it’s largely a useless one, and trying to listen to the DVD commentary only highlights that point.  The irony is that there’s a good film to be made about the golden time of “Action TV News” in the seventies… but Anchorman isn’t really interested in more than low comedy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *