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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

Anchorman

His news is bigger than your news.

Directed by:

Adam McKay

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 94 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12a

Country: United States

If you don’t like Will Ferrell, now would probably be a pretty good time to move to a big secluded cabin in the woods and cut yourself off from all known mass media. ‘Anchorman’, you see, is only the tip of the ice-berg – because between now and the end of 2005 he’s due to appear in another TWELVE movies. To put some sort of perspective on things, that’s almost double the number of ‘Police Academy’ films ever made – and, as someone who spent the bulk of the mid-late 80s hiding in the woods from Steve Guttenberg, I know only too well that that’s a LOT of movies.

Thankfully, it’s unlikely that too many people will need to take that particular piece of advice. Ferrell is, after all, a marvellous comic talent (he won me over last year with ‘Elf’, the best live-action comedy of 2003 and a piece of work I’m willing to wager he’ll never better) and ‘Anchorman’ is, after a bit of a slow start, a very good comedy. Frankly put, if you don’t take the time to catch the man at work, you’re missing out on catching one of the best funnymen in cinema today.

Here he plays title character Ron Burgundy, the all-conquering anchorman of San Diego’s number one morning news programme. Flanked by marvellously-named team-mates Brian Fantana, Brick Tamland and Champ Kind (Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and David Koechner), Burgundy is the undisputed king of news-reading in the region. But there’s a problem: it’s the 70s, which means it’s time to “diversify” and, much to our hero’s chagrin (and confusion), that’s not a word meaning a type of large wooden boat. So onto the team comes pretty, blonde and hyper-ambitious lady-journo Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) – and before long it looks like the boys’ fun is hurtling to an end.

If you like your comedy served low-key but high-brow then dive for cover, because ‘Anchorman’ is loud, totally ridiculous and more often than not it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Of course, given that the rest of the cast includes Ferrell’s regular partners-in-crime Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller and Luke Wilson – along with Jack Black thrown in for good measure – that probably won’t come as too much of a surprise to anyone. But ‘Anchorman’ takes the sort of humour you’d normally expect from that particular gang and cranks it up a notch – as a case in point, a mega-violent (and completely silly) street-fighting scene between rival news crews that results in near-total blood-shed. By way of comparison, it’s much wilder and also significantly funnier than ‘Dodgeball’, Messrs Stiller and Vaughn’s release from a few weeks earlier.

It’s a comedy that takes its time to warm up but, once it’s all over and done with, Ferrell leaves us wanting more – and, going by his upcoming schedule, that’s exactly what we’re going to get.

It's Got: A glorious musical interlude, a drop-kicked pooch, and plenty of “non-regional diction”.

It Needs: Owen Wilson. Where is he? All of his pals are here, after all.

Summary

Definitely weird and very nearly wonderful – and you’ll never look at your local newsreader in the same way again.

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