Now the film's sequel is finally out, I thought it would be a good time to check out Anchorman: The Legend Of Roy Burgundy again and see whether the hit comedy about a moronic San Diego anchorman and his crew still holds up.
This first movie took 70's news anchor Ron Burgundy, Will Ferrell's genius creation, and tried to extend his one joke nature into a multi-joked storyline with loads of other characters. The result was very light plot-wise but big on goofy shenanigans and full of silly and memorable moments. We follow Burgundy at the peak of his popularity, reading mostly animal-themed news and partying with his pals, played by Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and David Koechner, when a driven new female colleague (Christina Applegate) shows up and turns it all upside down. We occasionally switch to Veronica Corningstone's point of view as she comments on this man-led industry. Burgundy and Corningstone soon become involved, thanks to a solid burst of jazz flute and talk of whale vaginas, but after a heated run-in with Jack Black's biker, Burgundy arrives at work late and Corningstone takes over, eventually becoming co-anchor. The movie then turns into a full blown battle of the sexes with the dudes being about as immature as you'd expect and getting into all sorts of ridiculous, mostly irrelevant, situations. Whether it's putting on stinky Sex Panther colognes, getting into insane fights or sinking so low as to drink milk straight from the carton with a beard on a pavement during a hot day (milk was a bad choice), Burgundy and co pile on the silliness, often to hilarious effect. Highlights include a crazy battle (that escalates quickly) between all the local news teams in which you can expect cameos from the likes of Ben Stiller, Tim Robbins and Luke Wilson, a surreal trip to Pleasure Town, an absurd bear-centric finale and some fine, fine insults being thrown around.
Anchorman works thanks to its unique and perfect concept, its fun characters and its more cartoonish, juvenile moments. The more grotesque, the better. The film does try to tell a coherent story, though, but you can tell it really doesn't care all that much about making a statement about the times during hich the film is set, instead preferring to poke fun at it in-between mini skits. Will Ferrell and the rest are on top form and are clearly having a ball filling every scene with improvised hilarity and even a song. The film itself may be a tad hit-and-miss in that some of it is more amusing than it is straight-up funny, maybe because it tip-toes between spoof and satire pretty often, but as a whole it's still a really fun comedy with some of these guys' best moments. When a joke works, it works beautifully. That Anchorman spawned both a whole other movie filled with brilliant outtakes and a full-blown sequel is hardly surprising since there really are no other comedies quite like it and the film boasts a team that's both memorable and full of potential for further goofiness. Adam McKay's first film is a successful exercise in absurdity and is kind of irresistible in its own way. Whether you like Will Ferrell or not, it's still a solid flick with enough variety in its humour that you should find at least one or two things to chuckle at. It may not be quite as polished as, say, Zoolander but it's right up there as one of the gang's overall best, most creative efforts to date. Do watch out for a random appearance by Danny "Machete" Trejo and Vince Vaughn in a small but significant role, by the way.
Overall, this movie is the reason Movember was invented, it'll make you grow a 'tache so fast it'll make your head spin. It's also a very entertaining, very funny and good-looking little piece of cartoonish, cinematic foolishness.
Check it out, it's quite simply...
...an afternoon delight.