Saturday, February 5, 2022

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Movie Name:
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Year of Release: 2004
Director: Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Fred Willard, Chris Parnell, Kathryn Hahn, Fred Armisen, Seth Rogen, Danny Trejo, Vince Vaughn, Tim Robbins, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Jack Black, Judd Apatow, Holmes Osborne, Ian Roberts
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Writer/producer and director, Adam McKay made his feature directorial debut with "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy", after tackling some shorts on "Saturday Night Live". The film focuses its story on Ron Burgundy, a popular TV news anchorman in San Diego in the 1970s, who surrounds himself with a series of male colleagues, all of whom have different roles on his program. His existence is thrown into disarray when the station hires the ambitious Veronica Corningstone. While the station's leaders don't know what to do with her point of view and experience, she finally gets a chance to show her potential, when Burgundy is late for work and she has to cover for him. When Corningstone gets promoted to co-anchor, Burgundy's insecurities rile him up, and both him and Veronica are soon ardent rivals, though they both tried to maintain a discrete relationship till that point. As their antics on screen intensify, Burgundy is set up with a particularly embarrassing situation, which results in him getting fired. While this initially almost destroys his sense of self, and finally re-emerges ready to fight for his place.
"Anchorman" manages to maintain its hilarity, not because of the unpolitically correct topics that it clearly pokes fun at, but mostly because of the fantastic chemistry that all actors display in their interactions. Will Ferrell who co-wrote the screenplay with Adam McKay, knows how to craft narratives where the deeply flawed and completely misguided hero, is someone typically unaware of himself, but who has a good heart and is also invariably on a journey of redemption. His heroes are on a journey, much like John G. Avildsen's "Rocky", but unlike the charismatic boxer, Will Ferrell's heroes hit their highs very quickly and their lows even quicker, all this on a road which eventually leads them to a position that is invariably front and center, with just enough of a dash of political correctness thrown in to counter-balance the craziness they demonstrated earlier. "Anchorman" in a way is the film that set up this template for many of his subsequent films, and it's one that hilariously captures, in very broad strokes, some of the rampant sexism of the 70s, while also establishing this wacky camaraderie between this group of characters, including some of his rivals that are thrown in for good measure (and Ben Stiller's character alone is worthy of a film of his own). While many of these characters are mostly a collection of mannerisms, the film does poke fun at the inflated egos, sexism and silliness from working in such an environment, and does so with just enough corrosive humor and heart. The whole cast is terrific, with the cameos by Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson and Jack Black adding further substance to justify watching this film. While it's a film that could go deeper and provide a more insightful satire on gender roles and ego frailty, it's nonetheless an entertaining film worth watching.