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Monday, February 8, 2016

It was inevitable that if Will Ferrell made enough movies that he would eventually stumble into a classic. While his body of work includes some of the worst comedies ever made, he does get credit for the laugh classic that is Anchorman . This is a movie that points a camera at everyone who lived during the 70s and shows us just how ridiculous we were. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, Anchorman is as accurate as it is funny. In that way, it is also pretty disturbing.

The comedy in Anchorman is pretty low-brow, but some of it is extremely funny. There is nothing subtle about Ferrell’s humor, which is probably why he fails at so many of his attempts to be funny. He only knows how to go for the jokes that fall into the potty humor category, but Anchorman manages to take that potty humor and elevate it to a new level.

In Anchorman, Ferrell plays the clueless news anchor Ron Burgundy who only says what is on the teleprompter, and has absolutely no idea how to function outside of his news studio. The cast of characters that surround Burgundy are more clueless than he is, which is evident because they follow the guy anywhere. Despite the many layers of stupidity in this movie, it all works and comes together to create something that is hilarious from start to finish. Even the Smokey and the Bandit end credit bloopers seem to fit the whole aura of Anchorman perfectly.

I think the other thing that makes Anchorman work is the supporting cast surrounding Ferrell. Let’s face it, Will Ferrell cannot carry a movie by himself. He proved that in Kicking and Screaming. He has movies with extremely funny moments, but those movies never hold together from beginning to end. When he is given a strong ensemble of funny people, like he had at Saturday Night Live, then he becomes the focal point of a strong group.

Paul Rudd and David Koechner play their roles perfectly and both come off as the creepy guys that seemed to permeate the 70s. But the guy who steals the movie is Steve Carell with his performance as the completely brainless Brick Tamland. The guy loves lamp, and we love Brick for it.

Without Carell, Rudd, and Koechner this movie would never work. Fred Willard is perfect as the station manager with several dark secrets, and Christina Applegate gives a performance that does not damage the movie at all. Ferrell is playing the main character in Anchorman, but he cannot be funny without the cast. To me, this just proves that Ferrell should have stayed at Saturday Night Live, or put together a comedy team that would make movies and put him at the forefront. I understand the lure of big movie money and the impossible-to-resist temptation to be a movie star, but Ferrell was simply funnier as part of an ensemble and Anchorman is proof of that.

Ferrell and the entire group that put together Anchorman tried to recreate that magic with Anchorman 2, but the jokes had already been told and the shtick was simply not funny anymore. Anchorman is lightning in a bottle, and it required the entire cast for that lightning to work. I am pretty sure they are using Anchorman 2 as a torture device in Gitmo on those enemies of humanity, because I can see no other use for it.

All of the talk of a spin-off movie for Brick and another Anchorman movie (despite the massive failure of Anchorman 2) only shows that Hollywood still does not understand its own product. Movies like Anchorman only come along once in a very long while, and their parts cannot be removed to create more equally funny movies. Nor can you do a sequel to something like Anchorman and expect success. It simply does not happen. Anchorman was a one-shot deal, and it was Ferrell’s one chance to show that he really can be funny in the right situation. Unfortunately for Ferrell, the right situation involves working with people who are better actors and funnier than he is.

Rating: 3 out of 5

+George N Root III is a drive-in movie fan who is done giving Will Ferrell a chance to impress him. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him a message at

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