Anchorman – The Legend of Ron Burgundy: Unrated Widescreen Edition
Ron Burgundy: Will Ferrell
Veronica Corningstone: Christina Applegate
Brian Fantana: Paul Rudd
Brick Tamland: Steve Carell
Champ Kind: David Koechner
Ed Harken: Fred Willard
Garth Holliday: Chris Parnell
Universal Studios presents a film directed by Adam McKay. Produced by Judd Apatow. Written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Running time: 103 minutes. Unrated.
BY BRAD TORREANO, InsidePulse Movies
Some people just don’t like stupid movies. The idea of watching a series of cheap jokes and outrageous scenarios, no matter how well delivered, is simply unappealing to them. Those people would be advised to save their time and money and stop reading now, because they will undoubtedly hate Anchorman – The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Yet to anyone who can appreciate a thought-reducing exercise in potty humor and one-liners, Anchorman is a winner.
Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is the lead news anchor in San Diego, where he is treated with reverence by the men and like an irresistible sex symbol by the women. Since his ego goes unchecked and his co-workers cling to his minor celebrity status, he is hindered by only one thing: he cannot resist reading anything written on his teleprompter. Content that no one but his production staff knows his secret, he struts around the city with unlimited confidence and throws huge parties every night.
Of course everything changes when the first female news anchor joins the staff, the lovely and talented Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). Veronica is the antithesis of her fellow news staff; she’s a hard-nosed journalist with a ruthless thirst for success, and she despises the feel-good fluff they cover on a nightly basis. While Ron’s buddies make every attempt to sabotage her time at the station, he doesn’t feel the least bit threatened and instead takes her out for a night of romance. They fall in love almost instantly, but like all good relationships, they are blind to the tough moments ahead.
Ron also loves his dog, the wise and adorable terrier Baxter. Things go wrong when Ron causes a motorcycle accident on a bridge one afternoon, causing the vengeful biker to punt poor Baxter into the cold river below. Ron flips out and has an afternoon-long screaming fit, but finally he calls work and discovers he’s several hours late and they have to go on without him. Veronica is plugged into his spot and absolutely nails it, forcing the station to make them co-anchors. Ron takes it very badly, and not only breaks off their relationship but goes out of his way to make her life miserable. Their war escalates into an office-wide battle of the sexes, climaxing when Veronica changes the teleprompter to say something very, very naughty, which gets Ron fired.
From there Ron plummets into a drunken haze, watching as his best friends warm up to Veronica and stay the number 1 news team in San Diego. Veronica feels horrible because of what she did, so she attempts to reconcile their situation but finds that she doesn’t have the guts to talk to him. Finally, after she is pushed into a bear pit at the zoo by Tim Robbins (long story), Ron is called in to cover her story but instead bravely saves her life with his former news team in tow.
What makes Anchorman work is the incredible comic chemistry of the cast. The Daily Show‘s Steve Carell is amazing as Brick, the idiotic weather man who’s so stupid he can barely live a normal life, while Paul Rudd and David Koechner are funny in their respective roles as the chauvinistic on-location reporter and the secretely-gay sports analyst. Applegate is the movie’s secret weapon; she’s not only a perfect foil for the idiots around her, but she’s also believable in her unusually well-written part. Women are rarely given this much room to grow in a dopey male comedy, but she gets to play a broad range of emotions and not once does it feel like a stretch.
Of course, the film would be nothing without Ferrell’s performance as Ron, a likable braggart whose bravado is only matched by his brutal emotional honesty. His quirks – like a talent for jazz flute – never seem forced or stupid, making him a welcome addition to the roster of hilarious roles that Ferrell has done since his exit from Saturday Night Live.
If there are is any key problem to Anchorman, it’s the lengthy tangents that Ferrell and McKay feel free to go on. A time-consuming subplot involving a gang war between other local news anchors makes room for some celebrity guest appearances, but actors like Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughan are mostly wasted in their needless and unfunny cameos. Still, some tangents (like an unplanned sing-a-long to the Starland Vocal Band’s “Afternoon Delight”) are funny in small doses, even if they don’t relate to the plot.
Anchorman does not quite live up to the glory of Old School, but there are certainly moments that are equally funny. The script was made with room for improvisation, creating a hit-or-miss situation that still hits more often than it misses. Between Ferrell’s bravura performance and the plethora of jokes within, Anchorman is an easy recommendation for the stupid comedy connoisseur.
Video: The Look
The DVD doesn’t exactly need a pristine transfer to preserve the director’s vision, but Universal does its usual fine job. The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 is presented in anamorphic widescreen.
Audio: The Sound
You can hear him sing “Afternoon Delight” in English 5.1 (Dolby Digital), English 2.0 (Dolby Surround), French 5.1 (Dolby Digital), plus English, French, or Spanish subtitles.
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay obviously had a blast making this flick, because their commentary is not only hilarious but also very nostalgic. Ferrell might have a hard time keeping it serious, but McKay does throw out interesting tidbits between laughs. Other cast members are present as well, but the surprise comes when former Conan O’Brien sidekick Andy Richter and longtime jazz crooner Lou Rawls stop by for a slice of obscurity. Not quite up to the standards of Carrot Top’s endearingly needless commentary for The Rules of Attraction, but hearing Rawls over a film he has nothing to do with is a trip.
“Afternoon Delight” – “This is a song about making love in the afternoon.” Ah yeah, the bizarre cover of the Starland Vocal Band’s “Afternoon Delight” performed by Ferrell, Rudd, Carell, and Koechner gets even weirder with this short music video. Lots of 70s-eque feel-good moments, with the gang hanging out in the hot tub and playing in a lounge band together. It’s not exactly comic gold, but it’s a little funny.
Making of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy – A lot of generic comments about how much fun the movie was is interspersed with some interesting tidbits about the inspiration for the film and the improvisation that took place. Many lines were left open for the actors to fill in, so the cast was often taken by surprise during a take. Speaking of…
Bloopers – These are several prime examples of when different lines were used and it broke up the scene. Carell and Ferrell are the obvious stars of this segment, but in the end you’ll probably just be more in love with the extremely cool (and easy to make laugh) Applegate.
Deleted Scenes – This is the mother load right here, with over thirty minutes of funny (and not-so-funny) stuff that didn’t make the movie. A lot of different dialogue is featured, including an alternate version of the news team’s introductory narration and a new version of Ron asking Veronica what her dream is. Ron also admires his own billboard, asks Ed what a “lead” is, quizzes Garth about his divorce, attempts to hitchhike with his guitar, walks into a file cabinet, and does similar wacky stuff. A subplot where Ron takes a bullet for Veronica is included with a few cut scenes, as is a moment when the two attack each other in the conference room (which somehow made the trailer anyway). The best part of the cut scenes is actually the menu itself, where Ron warns you that the scenes featured here are “unwatchable” and that’s why they didn’t make the movie.
Other Features – Ferrell put a ton of work into the promotion of this film, and it shows when you look at the remaining features. There are celebrity interviews (including a very funny one from the MTV Movie Awards), a fake audition with ESPN, and a side-splitting A&E Biography of Ron Burgundy. Rouding out the disc is a few Universal trailers, including the one for this film.
A sequel already?
According to Universal, a second DVD that was edited together out of the film’s dropped subplots and improved dialogue will be arriving soon after Anchorman under the title Waking Up With Ron Burgundy. It should be available on a collector’s set with the original uncut DVD and on its own budget-priced disc.