Friday, July 09, 2004

ANCHORMAN: Will Ferrell is as about as hot as one actor can be, after the success of OLD SCHOOL and the phenomenon that was ELF. It's pretty much guaranteed that any movie that looks interesting in which he has a part is going to do mega-business. ANCHORMAN is written by Ferrell and director Adam McKay (a long-time SNL collaborator), and focuses on the man-drenched Neanderthal 70's of prime-time news. Ferrell plays Ron Burgundy, a hairy ape of a womanizer, and joins his hairy-ape news team played by Paul Rudd (the "field" reporter), David Koechner (sports), and dumber-than-Gump Steven Carell (weather). This all-man team must now face having to work with a woman (Christina Applegate) much to their chagrin. After watching several comedies this year, from STARSKY AND HUTCH to DODGEBALL, I see that most comedies "have their moments." It's a comment that mainly says, "There are so many jokes in here, SOME OF THEM have to hit home." For a comedy to be truly great, it has to build momentum, it has to be at least A LITTLE funny throughout, and then have you rolling when the "big scenes" come. ANCHORMAN has quite a few big comedy scenes, from a cameo-filled rival news station gang war to Burgundy's playing of a MEAN jazz flute. Those big scenes are good comedy, but getting to those scenes can be hit-or-miss. Which is to say, most comedies (because there are not a huge percentage of great ones) just plain miss. Will Ferrell, a guy who gets the most laughs from overstating the obvious or being sincere while saying the most insane things, luckily is steering this vehicle. His Burgundy character hilariously broadcasts every feeling he has, when he has it. Think of a guy who could never play poker in his life. Steven Carrell, "Daily Show" staple, playing a man with an IQ of 48, often comes up with several non-sequiters that are funny. However, good actors like Rudd and Koechner don't have much to work with, and a scene involving them trying to trip-up Applegate during a newscast, doing everything to get attention, says it all. Overall, yes, go watch it. Despite some misses, it has enough hits to recommend.


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