Film Reviews

ANCHORMAN

By • Jul 9th, 2004 •

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DreamWorks Pictures / An Apatow production / PG-13 / 94 minutes

QUOTE: It’s not a comedy.

Friends complain I look for two things in every movie: Ben Stiller and homoeroticism. ANCHORMAN has both.

I’m the only one who watched ELF and kept thinking about a “human” elf’s sexual awakening and how in the world did The Elf handle having the largest penis in his world of tiny people? The writers completely ignored the fact that Ferrell is a big, very mature looking man. I understand the concept of “suspending reality” but Ferrell looked rather long in the tooth running around screaming like an overjoyed kid without a lick of testosterone. I kept wondering what Elf thought about his wet dreams.

OLD SCHOOL and ELF made Ferrell the new great white hope of comedy and now he’s on the cover of GQ photographed looking like a romantic leading man. Is there any doubt about how his management is crafting the rest of his career?

Will Ferrell co-wrote the script with first-time director Adam McKay, a former “SNL” head writer. “SNL” stopped being funny 20 years ago. So ANCHORMAN is tailored specifically for Ferrell and designed as a venue to crudely embarrass women without losing the audience. You see, it’s the ‘70s and things were different. There was no sensitivity training at corporations, no sexual harassment suits, and women were not in the newsrooms reading copy.

Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) is a big buffoon but the number one news show in San Diego. News to Burgundy means fluff pieces about pandas. Burgundy doesn’t do “hard news.” His posse includes Champ Kind (David Koechner), a bald, cowboy- hat-wearing idiot (the homoerotic guy), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), the field reporter, and moron weather guy Brick Talmand (Steve Carell).

How did these guys get into a San Diego TV newsroom? Why is Burgundy number one?

The top-rated show has slavish followers but management insists that news producer Ed Harken (Fred Willard) hire a woman, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), to join the news team. All the guys make lame passes at her but it’s Mr. Burgundy who gets to sleep with her and tell all his viewers about it. When a motorcyclist (Jack Black) tangles with Burgundy and causes an emotional breakdown, Veronica takes his place on the air. An instant hit, she immediately becomes a co-anchor. Burgundy’s team tries to sabotage Veronica and when she does the same, it causes Burgundy to get fired.

Ben Stiller will soon be doing cameos in everyone’s dreams. There is too much Ben Stiller on film these days! Who makes more movies a year – Christopher Walken or Ben Stiller?

I don’t think Ferrell should be bragging about making up dialogue on the set. Doesn’t this mean that the script as written wasn’t funny? (Ed’s note: Not necessarily, eg. DOCTOR STRANGELOVE and the Marx Bros films. But in this case, maybe the observation fits.) The chief problems with ANCHORMAN is not only is it not funny, the direction is slow and heavy-handed. There is no light tough and absolutely no fun on screen. If the actors are not enjoying themselves, how can we?


Credits:
Director: Adam McKay
Screenwriters: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Producer: Judd Apatow
Executive producers: Shauna Robertson, David O. Russell
Director of photography: Thomas Ackerman
Production designer: Clayton R. Hartley
Music: Alex Wurman
Co-producer: David Householter
Costume designer: Debra McGuire
Editor: Brent White

Cast:
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
Helen: Kathryn Hahn

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