Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

At its worst, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is moronically stupid and dull. At its best, it is a zany riot of laughs. Most of the time, it falls somewhere in the middle, and one's appreciation of this film centers squarely on how one feels about Will Ferrell. Ferrell (Starsky & Hutch, Elf), has this go-fro-broke sense of humor where he will often keep going on a joke, past the point of being funny. Sometimes, this actually makes the joke funnier. Other times, it flops miserably. His sometimes man-child-like persona, used to great effect in Elf, gives him a sense of innocence and likability. His likability tests the limits here as Ron Burgundy, the most popular news anchor in San Diego. It's the 1970s, and everything was a lot simpler.

This setting not only allows director Adam McKay to dress everybody in those ubiquitous seventies clothing that people think are cool, but also allows for the role of Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate, Wonderland, Grand Theft Parsons). Corningstone is trying to break into the male-dominated world of local news. Ed Harken (Fred Willard, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, American Wedding) decides to give her a chance, but nobody will take her seriously. Harken keeps sending her on lame human-interest stories. Burgundy, being the chauvinistic stud he is, wants to sleep with her. He does, and finds himself drawn to her. However, nothing goes right after that, throwing a wrench into the finely honed male bonding between him and his fellow anchors. It also allows for a great scene between Applegate and Ferrell where they verbally spar with each other live on the air.

The rest of the film doesn't work as well. McKay and Ferrell, who met on Saturday Night Live, wrote the screenplay together, and it does feel like a bunch of ideas cobbled together. The weakest element concerns a rumble between rival stations. It's not silly, it's stupid. There's also a cartoon sequence between Corningstone and Burgundy that is just weird. Most of the humor is of the stupid, slapstick type. An obviously fake dog is kicked off a bridge. The funniest stuff deals with Burgundy, who is exceedingly dumb at points, reading the teleprompter incorrectly or acting like an ass on live television. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that there is not enough story or joke material to sustain a feature length Anchorman. The movie flames out quickly, running on fumes for most of its duration. Ferrell and his co-stars Paul Rudd (The Shape of Things, The Cider House Rules), Steve Carrell (Sleepover, Bruce Almighty), and David Koechner (My Boss's Daughter, A Guy Thing) are amusing, but it only gets them so far.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 31 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual humor, language, and comic violence.

Back to Movies