Sunday, July 8, 2012

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy; comedy, USA, 2004; D: Adam McKay, S: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Steve Carell, Vince Vaughn, Fred Willard, Tim Robbins, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Luke Wilson

San Diego in the 70s. Ron Burgundy is a popular news anchorman for Channel 4, selfishly exploiting his popularity to sleep with women and party all night with his friends Brick, Champ and Brian. However, the wave of emancipation hits him hard when his boss hires an independent woman, Veronica, as his co-anchor. His jealousy and dated views cause a clash between them, with Veronica framing him to say a nasty remark about San Diego thanks to the teleprompter: as a consequence, the boss fires Ron. Still, during the filming at a local zoo, Ron saves Veronica who fell into a cave with bears. The two make up and fall in love.

Sometimes while watching all the recent comedies which all base their humor exclusively on stupidity and stupid characters, one might ask oneself if Judge's satire "Idiocracy" was actually eerily right in predicting the decay of intelligence as the culture of the future. McKay's "Anchorman" is one of those 'stupid comedies', relaying almost exclusively on low levels of humor when it could have used some examples of sophistication - that it does not necessarily have to be like that can be demonstrated with, for instance, Farrelly's "Kingpin" that was also a broad comedy with "wacky" jokes, but a one that actually showed its characters as real people, outsiders who actually even had touches of an emotional side. While at first "Anchorman" seems auto-ironic while juggling with Ron Burgundy's sexist cliches, such an attitude is repeated for so long until it starts to become irritating and just plain backward, whereas Will Ferell's comic timing is bipolar: at some moments, he is hilarious ("You are so wise, like a little Buddha wit fur...", he says, while listening to his dog bark) while at others he is just a hassle. The real scene stealers are Steve Carell in a small role as the dimwitted Brick and Vince Vaughn as the preposterous rival anchorman, whereas Christina Applegate has arguably never been better in a film, adding some weight to the thin story by representing a small feminist touch with Veronica. Despite several misguided ideas, a few jokes really are howlingly comical here and there (the "dialogue" between the dog and the bear towards the end being a highlight; "What's that smell? It smells like Bigfoot's dick!"; "Policia!"). The movie is a mess. But at least it is a funny mess.


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