Thursday, March 02, 2006

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (McKay, 2004)

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy lines up a prime target in its sights and then proceeds to shoot itself in the foot. There's plenty of humor to be mined from taking the wind out of pompous, authoritative news anchors, but Will Ferrell creates a character that is so buffoonish that he ceases to be recognizable. He is so clearly an idiot that there is no joy to be had either when he succeeds or fails. Steve Carell plays a weatherman who we are told is mentally retarded; however, this only barely distinguishes from any of the other characters in the film. There's precious little news satire here, but lots of digressions -- a street fight, an impromptu jazz flute performance, an escape from a bear pit and a long sequence that takes up about a third of the movie in which all of the male members of the news team take turns on trying to get a female employee into bed. The film is trying to ridicule these simple-minded characters for being obsessed with the presence of a woman and not focused on the news. Well, the creators of Anchorman could be accused of having the same juvenile mind-set. Indeed, we never even get to see the weatherman do the weather, the sports guy do the sports, etc. Instead we are just expected to find them funny because they're stupid. What would be funnier is if we saw how these dimwits were actually able to produce a television show that was likely to be readily consumed by the public. Instead, Anchorman is the comedy equivilant of bashing a pinata. Ron Burgundy has been created for one purpose only: to be ridiculed. Any resemblance to actual anchormen -- or actual humans -- is purely coincidental.



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