Rixflix A to Z: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

Director/Co-writer: Adam McKay // DreamWorks SKG; 1:44; Color
Cast Notables: Will Ferrell (Ron Burgundy & co-writer), Christina Applegate (Veronica Corningstone), Paul Rudd (Brian Fantana), Steve Carell (Brick Tamland), David Koechner (Champ Kind), Fred Willard, Chris Parnell, Kathryn Hahn, Fred Armisen, Paul F. Tompkins, Danny Trejo, Seth Rogen, Jay Johnston, Laura Kightliner, Adam McKay, Judd Apatow, Bill Kurtis, Luke Wilson, Joe Flaherty, Jack Black, Neil Flynn, Missi Pyle, Tim Robbins, Ben Stiller, Jerry Stiller, Vince Vaughn, David Wain, Dylan Walsh.
Cinema 4 Rating: 7

Ron Burgundy: Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast.
Champ Kind: It jumped up a notch.
Ron: It did, didn't it?
Brick Tamland: Yeah, I stabbed a man in the heart.
Ron: I saw that. Brick killed a guy. Did you throw a trident?
Brick: Yeah, there were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident.
Ron: Brick, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you're probably wanted for murder.

This was the film. Despite the fact that I had enjoyed, to a limited degree, some of Will Ferrell's work on Saturday Night Live, and had liked him in some of his smaller movie roles (though sometimes wishing he would turn down the volume once in a while), I really wasn't prepared for him to go big. I mean, as a movie star. I got his characters, I got him, and I often thought he was funny; I just wasn't ready to accept him on the same screen with actors of a purportedly higher caliber and greater acting range. I just thought his success was based on his ability to forgo embarrassment and strip down to his underwear over and over again for a laugh at his flabby exterior.

But Anchorman was the film where I got it. I fully understood Will Ferrell onscreen. And now, I love him. It also opened my heart to Elf, and now, as he actually gets films, like Stranger Than Fiction, where he is allowed to "act" in the accepted Hollywood fashion (though his pure comedic work is actually harder to pull off), I am ready to accept him.

It helps that he is working with a subject matter which intrigues me deeply. I have despised/loved the pomposity of evening and network news anchors for most of my life -- with their perfect hair and their phony smiles and their caked-on makeup and their Stepford-wife-attitudes -- and it was time that someone truly nailed their faces to the teleprompters that give them what little real life these televised automatons possess. Along the way, Farrell and pals lovingly crush the life out of the macho image and frat boy mentality of his news team compatriots, dotted with numerous cameos from the Brotherhood of Modern Comedy, including Vince Vaughn, Tim Robbins, Jack Black, a Wilson brother and the omni-present Ben Stiller.

Suddenly, I have somehow seen most of his recent films in theatres: Wedding Crashers, Talladega Nights, Fiction etc., and while the results vary, overall, I find that I am now anticipating his future releases. I like him enough now to defend him in Bewitched, even if the rest of the film (except Stephen Colbert) is disappointing and undercooked. Jen has sworn that she never needs to see him in his underwear or shirtless (or both in tandem) again, but she, too, has admitted that she enjoys him now onscreen. She doesn't have the same love for Anchorman that I do, but she does adore the five news-team rumble at the heart of this film. Just like my newfound respect for Mr. Ferrell, it was out of the blue and completely unexpected.

Call it the trident through my heart. Now, he kills me...


chewy said…
So you can admit also, that it was HE, not Nicole Kidman, who pretty much carried most of Bewitched.


You will also wait with glee, for the final part of Ferrell/McKay's "Mediocre man trilogy" like the rest of us.

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