Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) * 1/2
Directed by Adam McKay. Written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Photography, Thomas Ackerman. Editing, Brent White. Production design, Clayton R. Hartley. Music, Alex Wurman. Producer, Judd Apatow, A Dreamworks release. 91 minutes. PG-13. Cast: Will Ferrell (Ron Burgundy), Christina Applegate (Veronica Corningstone), Paul Rudd (Brian Fantana), Steve Carell (Brick Tamland), David Koechner (Champ Kind), Fred Willard (Ed Harken) et al.
If you are like the audience I saw the movie with, you’ll often laugh loudly. I confess that I laughed too, but just a few times, mildly, and conscious of the film’s idiocy. So there.
The film (by a first-time feature director) is one of the many items spawned by Saturday Night Live. Its basic (and base) subject goes as follows.
At some point in the 1970s, Ron Burgundy is the major anchorman of the Number One rated TV station in San Diego. He is a creep, and flanked by three buddies who are ditto. The other words which come to mind are “morons,” “imbeciles,” “idiots,” “crude machos,” and other names, all unprintable. They favor awful outfits of mostly polyester, and horrid hair to match. Presumably, for the male characters the clothes are to die for, but for the viewers they are to die from. Bad taste reigns in every possible way. Oddly –unless I missed this--- there are no drugs around.
For reasons unexplained, but essentially “marching with the times,” the station is getting its first female announcer, Veronica Corningstone. She is played by Christina Applegate of “Married, With Children” fame. And she ambitions to become Ron’s co-anchor.
The opposition by the Burgundians is clear, and so is their yearning to bed down their new associate. It is all very, very crude. Veronica is certainly smarter than her co-workers and fully aware of Ron’s inflamed twelve-cylinder libido – and his idiocy.
In his earlier attempts of seduction he states that in his apartment he has “many important leather-bound books” and that “it smells of rich mahogany.” Veronica is no fool, yet when he takes her to a food-and-music place, she does a full reversal, especially right after Burgundy plays a number on his jazz flute. This must be the first ever movie-case of a flute becoming an aphrodisiac. The two rivals end up in bed, a fact that lacks logic as it is not shown as a case of casting couch. (There’s no major nudity here, or elsewhere in the picture.)
The picure’s dirty, vulgar, gross (as well as mangled) language goes overboard in every possible way, no matter what the talk is about. Burgundy, for instance, chats with Veronica about the origins of San Diego. He thinks that the city was founded by Germans, and that its name means “a whale’s vagina.” No comment. All this goes on and on, endlessly.
Past a certain point -- that must be different for individual watchers—the picture’s vulgarity in sight and sound becomes inoffensive, unreal. I cannot specify details as they would probably get edited out by my newspaper.
The big question: as for certain other movies, is this one so bad that it is good? That’s each filmgoer’s decision.
One thing baffles me above all the rest. How come that the pundits who rate films in the U.S.A, and who get prudish so regularly, gave this item a PG-13 instead of an R?