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"Will Ferrell commits to his roles like a rabid monkey; he digs in, grabs on, and won't let go."










The Masked Reviewer

Look, up in the TV!  Who reads faster than a speeding teleprompter?  Whose diction is more powerful than an elocution coach?  It's a bird!  It's a plane!  It's Anchorman!

Yes, it's time for another Will Ferrell movie.  Now, for some of you, this is a good thing.  A great thing.  In fact, for some readers, this could be the highlight of your month.  There are people who think that Will Ferrell is absolutely hilarious.  They loved him in Old School ("You're my BOY, Blue!"), and even more people who found his over-sized boyish charms irresistible in Elf (2003).  He's also appeared in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), Zoolander (2001), Superstar (1999). and A Night at the Roxbury (1998), and there are people who loved him in each of those films (as well as many others).  Not only that, some people even loved his recurring characters on "Saturday Night Live", including the cheerleading guy. 

There are others, of course, who aren't big fans of Will Ferrell.  Perhaps you saw his appearances on "SNL" and thought of him as a dorky goofball (or, perhaps a goofy dorkball).  Maybe you didn't even need to see him on TV, just the fact that he's a post-1975 alumnus of that show is enough to make you stay away from his movies at all costs. 

Here's the sad fact about Anchorman: at times, it's funny.  Really funny.  There are some honest-to-goodness greatly funny moments in the film.  The Masked Reviewer is embarrassed to admit it, but it's true.  The same could be said for Elf, which did well at the box office, but Anchorman is quite a bit funnier.

That's not to say that everything in his movie is hilarious.  Will Ferrell commits to his roles like a rabid monkey; he digs in, grabs on, and won't let go.  The primary source of humor in this movie is the newsman character he creates, Ron Burgandy.  He's pretentious, vain, a chauvinist, and a simpleton...but deep down, he's a nice guy.  The performance is filled with hammy, repetitive, over-acting.  But, you know...Will Ferrell somehow manages to pull it off.  There's no self-consciousness in his acting, he just goes for it and lets everything hang out, and it has a certain charm that, if you aren't a big fan of his, tends to grow on you. 

There are some amusing bits in the beginning of the film, but a lot of the over-the-top stuff might have you sighing and wondering why you're in this movie.  Over time, though, he gets to all but the most hardened movie goers.  He's like a spicy burrito...the first bite, maybe you don't feel that kick.  But slowly, it creeps up on you, until you're running around, dying to take a big drink of laughter from a cup of merriment.  Perhaps that's not the best analogy in the world, but you get the idea.

For the most part, the supporting performances are fine.  David Koechner ("SNL", My Boss's Daughter), Fred Willard (A Mighty Wind,Best in Show), Kristina Applegate ("Married with Children", Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead), and Paul Rudd  (...he must have done something...)  all are fine, and each have a few funny moments, though they're primarily trampolines for Will Ferrell to bounce off of. 

The highlight of the film's performances is undoubtedly Steve Carell ("The Daily Show").  Steve Carell has made a career out of being a fake newscaster, with a hilarious appearance in Bruce Almighty as Bruce's tortured rival.  In this one, he plays an idiot, but plays it to perfection.  Almost every single line is hilarious, and Steve Carell steals just about every scene he's in.  If you love Steve Carell, he's worth the price of admission.

The second highlight is  the great cameos in the film.  There are several, and they're relatively brief, but perfectly cast and wonderfully funny.  The Masked Reviewer doesn't give away any spoilers, but suffice it to say...they're good!

And, let's not forget the appearance of Baxter, the dog.  If you're wondering what kind of dog breed Baxter is, he looks like a Wheaton Terrier.  Maybe.  The Masked Reviewer isn't sure, but Baxter gave a great dog performance.  Two paws up.

The movie was co-written by Will Ferrell and former "SNL" writer, Adam McKay, who also directed the movie.  He did a fine job...he's no Jon Favreau (who directed Elf and appeared in Daredevil), but who the hell is?  (That is, who the hell is Jon Favreau?)   

Anchorman is undeniably sophomoric, but it's likeable.  For fans of Will Ferrell, this could be your favorite of his films.  For non-fans, even people who absolutely loathe him will find some great laughs in this movie. 


Expectation from the Title: The story of the slowest, heaviest hero, able to stop a boat in a single bound.  It's a bird!  It's a plane!  It's a heavy iron thing on a chain.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Will Ferrell gives 110% and it's nice to see a young man giving that much effort.

The Pros: Steve Carell is priceless; the cameos are great; Will Ferrell grows on you and has some very funny moments.

The Cons: It's kind of dumb, but eventually it overpowers you and forces you to like it. It's kind of uneven, but overall worthwhile.



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