Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Review

Posted: December 17, 2013 by moviebuff801 in moviebuff801's Movie Reviews, Time Capsule Reviews

Release Date: July 9th, 2004

Running Time: 1 hour and 32 minutes

Written by: Will Ferrell & Adam McKay

Directed by: Adam McKay

Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell

By: Michael “MovieBuff801” Dennos

This doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while, a film comes along that a critic/general film reviewer like myself enjoys, but doesn’t seem to have enough talking points about it to constitute a full-length review.  For me, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is such a film.  Don’t get me wrong, though — I definitely like this movie, but to go into detail about what makes it work or not work seems like it would be the kind of straightforward conversation that would be over before it really even began.  This is a very surface-level movie in terms of its merits, but if there’s anything I appreciate from a writing standpoint, it’s a good challenge.  So, let’s see if I can pull off a review in the vicinity of 1,000 words that satisfactorily covers this movie.  Cause if there’s anything to be learned from the duo of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, it’s that making something up on-the-fly can prove to be a good thing.

This 2004 cult comedy concerns the titular Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), a well-renowned news anchor in the 1970’s whose qualities often alternate between self-obsessed, chauvinistic and just plain silly.  He’s the cream of the crop in the San Diego news team, along with his co-casters Champ Kind (David Koechner), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell).  It’s a time where the man reigns supreme in the work world … an ideal which is threatened when Ron’s boss Ed Harkin (Fred Willard) claims that the network wants to see more diversity on the news team, leading to the hiring of Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate).  Ms. Corningstone proves to be a tenacious up-and-comer with aspirations of becoming the first female news anchor in the history of news anchors.  Of course, Ron and the guys see her as just a prize to be claimed (if you know what I’m talking about — which you obviously do, so why am I putting all this in parentheses?).  However, when Veronica’s star does indeed begin to rise, it creates friction between her and Ron of the comical sort as a battle of the sexes, and hilarity, ensues.

At the end of the day, Anchorman doesn’t amount to much — nor should it.  The movie is essentially just an off-the-cuff hodgepodge of some of the most random humor you’re ever likely to see.  But it’s a funny hodgepodge, and that’s what counts when discussing a movie like this.  Now, I’m not the biggest Will Ferrell fan out there — like all hit-and-miss comedians, he needs the right material to bring out the best in him — but Anchorman is indeed the right material, and I can’t deny that the film is quite funny.  Is it one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen in the last decade, though?  No, I can’t really say that.  For all the jokes it throws out at its viewers, not ALL of them are home runs, but enough of them hit the mark and stick the landing to consider this movie a success.  And even then, it’s still the funniest Will Ferrell movie I’ve seen to date, so there’s that.

A big factor in Anchorman‘s success is the strong chemistry and camaraderie between all of the stars.  Not only that, but each of them plays their part really well.  The character of Ron Burgundy gives Will Ferrell ample opportunity to flex his funny bone in that ridiculous, over-the-top way that he loves so much and in the process, he creates what has no doubt become his most memorable on-screen character.  Despite Ron’s “I’m kind of a big deal” attitude, there’s just something pretty endearing about the guy that’s buried underneath the great hair, thick mustache and huge ego.  The rest of his “posse” are just as fun, but personally, I think Carell and Rudd edge out Koechner in terms of likability — and laughs, for that matter.  Carell in particular is a lot of fun as Brick, and perhaps the best thing about the character is that Ferrell and Adam McKay (who co-wrote the script together) never make it feel like they’re mocking mental illness, but rather using all potential laughs there to add to the whole air of randomness that runs rampant throughout the picture.  Case in point:

Christina Applegate is also able to hold her ground against all of these improv wizards, and her more straight-arrow role makes for some funny moments, especially in the more ridiculous sequences.  What’s sort of interesting to consider about Anchorman is that it’s basically an underdog story, just told from the opposite perspective.  If this was a much more serious movie (which is weird to think about), then Ron and his pals would be seen as the assholes who constantly try to get in the way of the heroine’s, Veronica’s, success.  However, it’s still a lot of fun to see that same element of the story as it stands, just with a more satirical eye.

The film is also ripe with very amusing cameos from faces ranging from Vince Vaughn to Luke Wilson and even Tim Robbins.  On that note, let me just say that the whole “Newsman War” sequence is hands down the funniest sight gag in the entire film, and the immediate scene afterwards is equally hilarious.

But there I go getting into listing specific scenes from the movie that are funny in and of themselves, and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that no matter how big the temptation.  All you need to know about Anchorman is that it’s a funny movie, and thereby gets the job done.  Co-writer /director Adam McKay and his group of goofballs know what they’re doing, and thank God they do, because if they didn’t, this film would be something of a mess.  But because of their expertise, they all make Anchorman a comedy that even at its goofiest, still manages to stay classy.

Hey, I did it!  992 words!


  1. CMrok93 says:

    Good review Michael. I love this movie, it’s quotes and just how damn hilarious it can be, everytime I watch it. Sure, maybe a few years in between each watch is fine, but still, the laughter never goes away.

  2. moviebuff801 says:

    Thanks. Yeah, this film has plenty of big laughs to go around and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say I LOVE the movie, those laughs are strong and consistent enough for me to recommend the movie.

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