Don’t let the title throw you – this movie is not very serious! Director Adam McKay co-wrote this hilarious film with star Will Farrell who plays the egocentric, five-time Emmy winning anchorman Ron Burgundy. The beginning states the film is based on a true story but “only names, events, locations have been changed” – that’s about as serious as it gets.
Ron likes his scotch, defines diversity as an “old wooden ship from Civil War” and thinks owning leather-bound books make him important. Ron’s celebrity status in the San Diego community feeds his ego, but you get to see a different, but still funny side of Ron when he plays jazz flute and banters with his memorable dog, Baxter.
Ron’s news team includes field reporter Brian Fantana, played by Paul Rudd (Clueless, TV’s Friends), weatherman Brick Tamland, played by Steve Carell (TV’s The Daily Show) and sports guru Champ Kind, played by former SNL cast member David Koechner.
Christina Applegate (TV’s Married With Children), plays Veronica Corningstone, a no-nonsense journalist who’s trying to break through this male dominated profession. She endures countless harassment and advances, but eventually finds a soft spot for Ron. Their teleprompter antics and insults during ending news credits provide extremely funny moments.
Fred Willard (Best in Show, A Mighty Wind) plays station manager Ed Harken well and keeps the story grounded in minimal reality. He progresses the action at the station and has some comically tragic phone conversations with his son. SNL alum Chris Parnell plays Garth, the station assistant who’s not respected much by Ron and his partying friends.
The story has minimal antagonists, largely consisting of rival news anchorman, Wes Mantooth, well played by Vince Vaughn (Dodgeball, Old School) who wants first place in a flawed TV news rating system. Filmmakers occasionally use a documentary approach to tell the story of a fictitious star news anchor during the 1970s, even using narrator Bill Curtis from the A & E channel. A few elements including Applegate’s narration and Garth’s idolization of Ron seem out of place (perhaps complimentary scenes were edited out).
The story gets a bit jumpy, but the jokes and gags more than make up for it – like Farrell says during the ending credit bloopers it’s the “most ridiculous thing ever”. This recommended (*** out of four stars) comedy has a great supporting cast and some high profile cameos (If you want to be surprised, don’t look at the cast list!). Rated PG-13 for crude humor, sexual content, profanity and comic violence.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler