Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrel ), a top-rated 1970s San Diego anchorman, believes women have a place in the newsroom – as long as they stick to covering fashion shows or late-breaking cooking stories. So when Ron is told he'll be working with a bright young newswoman (Christina Applegate) who's beautiful, ambitious and smart enough to be more than eye candy, it's war.
Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy is the brainchild of former Saturday Night Live head writer Adam McKay and cast member Will Ferrell. Making the transition from TV to film has been relatively smooth for Ferrell, given his scene-stealing turns in Old School (2003), the first two Austin Powers movies, Zoolander (2001), and the much-deserved success he had with his first star vehicle Elf (2003) playing one of the most endearing man-child characters ever to grace a kid's film. Hands down he is one of the best comedians working today as Anchorman further confirms.This guy is almost too funny.
McKay directs while Ferrell stars as Ron Burgundy, a moustachio'd local newsreader with a sizeable chest wig and a wardrobe full of polyester suits. Anchorman time-travels us back to the 1970s, creating a shag-piled environment of libidinous blokes. Ron and his newsroom cohorts Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd at his sleazy best), Brick Tamland (Steve Carrell at his dumb-as best) and Champ Kind (David Keochner, somewhere in between) rule not only the airwaves but the swingin' pool parties of downtown San Diego. To them bottom pinching is an Olympic sport, and 'feminism' the name of a strip club down the block. Enter aspiring anchorwoman Veronica Corningstone, played by the excellent Christina Applegate (The Sweetest Thing), a woman who has clearly read The Hite Report. Veronica is no weather girl in a bikini and gives these macho monkeys a run for their money with her upstart, equal opportunity ways?
Anchorman enters the 'newsroom genre' without an agenda, which could be its downfall. The writing is very patchy and the wonderful grotesque characters really have no place to go once the plot's flimsy set up has been disposed of. Anchorman is not Broadcast News (1987), probably the best example of a film about media-making to successfully combine politics, drama and comedy. Anchorman has no such aspirations and neither should it. It is a giant parody, an excuse for Ferrell and his talented actor-comedian buddies to go back to the 1970s and do what they do best: lampoon stupid white guys in ties. Parody can also be political – just ask Ferrell and any number of his amazing comedy peers – many of whom make hilarious cameos as members of rival newsreader gangs in the film's side-splitting West Side Story-esque rumble.
Being funny and political is what many of this generation of American movie comedians actually do best. They make us cringe over the familiar, the safe, and the respectable. They make us see what is wrong with 'the state of things' by taking said things just a little too far. (A community service I say). And in this land of extremes Ferrell is king. As a loyal subject I for one love Ferrell's perverse take on the world. He goes way too far into that sublime 'so wrong it's right' territory. Anchorman isn't genius but he is. That's enough for right now.