Legend of Ron Burgundy
Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd
Director: Adam McKay
Sara M. Fetters
"Anchorman" Deserving of
evening, America. I’m Sara Michelle Fetters – here’s the review.
The new Will
Farrell comedy “Anchorman” arrives in theaters today, and let me be
the first to say, ‘Holy cow – what a pile of gelatinous over-saturated
Excuse me for
not being subtle, but this is one critic who just does not understand
the obscene popularity of this clownish baboon. I must admit, in
small, miniscule doses I have found the hyperactive Farrell to be
funny, and there are times in “Anchorman” where I felt that way once
again. Playing a seventies era San Diego newsman, the former “Saturday
Night Live” does generate some laughs as the self-absorbed and
perfectly coifed Ron Burgundy. They are, however, few and far between,
this flick nothing more than a cute idea stretched so far past its
breaking point the rubber band snaps a good ten minutes into the
Looking for a
story? You won’t find one here. At its most basic, “Anchorman” wants
to poke fun at those bygone moments when feminism made its impact felt
in TV newsrooms across the country. This was a time when women pushed
their way past the weather prompter and into the anchor chair, and
Burgundy and his news team are more than a little reluctant to see a
female reporter do just that.
is one Veronica Corningstone, played with an infectious earnestness by
one-time “Married with Children” star Christina Applegate. She’s so
good in the role her performance almost saves the entire picture.
While everyone else is flamboyantly overplaying their hands, Applegate
tones it down and dials it in. She has confidence in both the material
and in her own abilities and, as such, she’s wonderful. In fact,
Applegate is the only consistently funny – or endearing – presence in
“Anchorman,” frequently stealing scenes right out from beneath her
much more lauded costar.
Even better is
“Best in Show” and “A Mighty Wind” funnyman Fred Willard, his phone
conversations with flustered school administrators and authorities the
best of their kind since Bob Newhart picked up a receiver. Willard
does more with a sideways glance then the rest of the cast does with
pratfalls, double entendres and verbally abusive sight gags galore. If
this movie was about him, about an aging newsman and station manager
trying to bend with ever-changing times, “Anchorman” just might have
been a comedy classic.
But it isn’t,
and instead all we get is a tiredly over-the-top, overly improvised
farce that relies more on the popularity of its star than it does on
little things like character, story or continuity. Director Adam McKay
lets Farrell and his cadre of best friends; Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson
and Ben Stiller to name three; run roughshod over him. No more is this
more apparent than during an out of nowhere street fight between rival
television news teams, including PBS and Telemundo, where everyone
suddenly makes like they’re trying out for the movie “Troy.”
thing is a series of poorly planned “SNL” skits trapped in the middle
of a good idea taken in the completely wrong direction. What’s most
amusing about all of this is that Jack Nicholson played this same
character over a decade ago in James L. Brooks’ “Broadcast News,”
making more of a comedic impact in ten minutes than Farrell does in
just over ninety of them. But than, that was a satire of the nightly
news business that had the gal to have a brain, something Farrell
knows his audience doesn’t want.
time and time again he’s being proven right. Theatergoers flocked to
see Farrell in “Elf” and I can’t help but think they’ll do the same
here. Granted, this time around he won’t attract quite the same broad
audience; with so much adult humor and comedic violence this is
assuredly not a picture for the little ones; but the box office take
will undoubtedly be huge all the same.
critic, that fact alone is enough to make me want to sign off.
Sara Michelle Fetters – stay intelligent America, and leave
“Anchorman” in the cancellation bin where it belongs.
ê1/2 (out of
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