Let’s be fair folks. Most of the news outlets that we find ourselves immersed in are shit. All we see are pretty faces that dramatize and spin issues that require none whatsoever. All we hear are facts that become distorted to serve some inane purpose that keeps old white men in power while ignoring the other millions of colored people that live and work in the U.S. All we share are the same old useless trinkets of info that describe how shallow, talentless hacks live their lives and still have the nerve to call themselves ‘stars’. Save for the public radio stations, PBS, a newspaper named after a vegetable and anything to do with Jon Stewart, it’s hard to find any sort of genuine news agency that’s die hard on telling shit straight.
And then there’s Ron Burgundy.
Clad in a majestic red suit with just enough face fur to make even Barry Gibb screech, the titular Anchorman wears his intentions on his sleeve. He says what he wants, struts his stuff like a champ and sets his sights on anything with a nice ass and a pair of tits. Forget the 24 hour news cycle and drop the obvious slants to certain ideologies. Hell, you can even throw out the desire to produce any worthwhile or interesting news. Ron takes us back to a time when local news had nothing earth shattering to give you every damn minute save for some shitty coverage on animals riding jet skis, but at least in this film’s news room, they fucking know it. It ain’t CNN and their flip-flopping old fart of an anchor Wolf Blitzer, or Fox News’ obviously misleading tagline, “Fair & Balanced.” It’s 1975, and it’s all about the Anchorman.
Adam McKay gets us rolling as we’re introduced to the city of San Diego and their love affair with the Channel 4 news team. Ferrell’s Burgundy rolls around the news desk as Channel 4’s lead anchor, flanked by three additional members of his posse, namely the womanizing reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), the southern dandy of sports Champ Kind (David Koechner), and the comically idiotic weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). Taken together, these four adults more or less act like over-sexed adolescents that roam around the station looking for either a pair of tits or a round of fisticuffs. For the latter, we find that in rival newsman Wes Mantooth (Vince Vaughn), whose hatred for Ron Burgundy is almost like watching an interpretation of West Side Story gone horribly wrong. And yes, his scenes get funnier as the film struts along.
However, much of Ron’s world gets turned upside down when he meets face to ass with the new lady in town, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). From there, the 70s time frame helps to create a great atmosphere for the comedy that ensues as Veronica endures the hilarious and completely outdated notions that Ron and his posse have in regards to women in the workplace. Progressive and professional, Veronica’s very existence in the film comes into comedic conflict with Ron’s hilariously sexist mores and masculine posturing (all the while having the cutest of animal friends in the form of his dog Baxter). Despite all of this, things collide like a car wreck once Ron goes to Tino’s Jazz Bar and whips out his “yazz flute.” What results is Ron Burgundy burning down the house with a flute solo so cool and funny that Veronica becomes overwhelmed by the Anchorman’s detestable, hair-laden charm (i.e., he plows her). However, like all blossoming relationships captured on film, our would-be lovers will crash and burn with stupefying results until they reconcile once more.
Whatever attempts this blogger has made in terms of summarizing Anchorman will have to end here since many of its best moments are unveiled after Ron and Veronica go balls deep into each other. Much of that obviously includes office hijinks and the unraveling of Ron and Veronica’s relationship, but with a musical number, animal conversations and an epic gut-buster of an action sequence, the hilarity doesn’t end. Yet with all the build-up to these iconic moments, the star of the show is, by and large, Will Ferrell. His portrayal of a self-centered and inherently stupid newscaster is ultimately the catalyst for every funny moment in Anchorman, which not only gives way to some inane laughs, but provides the revelation that even in 2012, you just might be getting your news bites from a vapid idiot who’s employed by an equally idiotic newsroom. At least in Anchorman’s case, you don’t have to shudder as much.
~Channel 4 News Team Image is Courtesy of Jason Ortiz