Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Adam McKay

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Adam McKay
7
The Legend of Ron Burgundy has become just that in Hollywood: a legend. An offbeat hit that launched re-ignited or just generally benefited the careers of everyone involved. And nobody saw it coming. Other than Will Ferrell's recent success playing an overgrown Christmas elf, nothing clearly indicated that the story of a prototypical privileged white American male – vain, misogynistic, prodigiously ignorant and oh-so-successful – would be a commercial and critical hit, let alone develop the kind of cult following for a dirty comedy not seen since The Big Lebowski spawned an annual event for bathrobe-clad bowlers to get plastered on White Russians. But that's what happened. And it happened because Anchorman is cracked-out randomness in a bottle. Padded by the armour of period satire, former Saturday Night Live director, Adam McKay's warped little brain baby was free from concerns of political correctness, which was a boon to his improvisation-friendly approach to filmmaking. It's not the broad gags predicated on the irrationality of antiquated chauvinistic attitudes – the plot deals with the patriarchal institution of news-casting adapting to the presence of an authoritative female – that gives Anchorman its spark though; it's the rampant absurdity. Not that any of it would work without Christina Applegate's assured performance as a smart, confident woman who can give even better than she gets. Though she's afforded more than a few juicy lines, hers is mostly the role of straight woman nonetheless, so she ends up playing second fiddle to the juvenile, laughably incompetent shenanigans of Burgundy, Brian Fontana (Paul Rudd), Champ Kind (David Koechner) and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). Except their talent for spur-of-the-moment harmonization – the foursome absolutely nail a head-scratching acapella version of "Afternoon Delight" as a beyond-words expression of Ron's fluttering heartstrings. Okay, and the mentally retarded Brick does show some aptitude with trident tossing, but other than that these are the misadventures of complete dimwits who have everything they do by virtue of dumb luck. If it was merely reliant upon lambasting archetypes, Anchorman wouldn't have garnered such a legacy and be so oddly quotable. Pure, untethered randomness is the key to this film's longevity and appeal. Sometimes the right kind of dumb is exactly what you need. (Paramount)