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 Critic's Rating
 Date Posted
   29th October, 2004
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Cast: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Steve Carell
Director: Adam McKay

Reviewing films is a purely subjective process; anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is dishonest or ill-informed. But if there's one rule every do-gooder film critic knows then this it: Our first duty is to the reader. So here is my dilemma I liked "Anchorman" for its uncharacteristic sense of humour. There are some sharp (often hilarious) observations about the American way of life in the 1970s (chauvinism in the work place, thick side-burns, bad haircuts, polyester suits, etcetera) but for the most part, the comedy is hit-or-miss. It's refreshing, though, to find Will Ferrell and other Saturday Night Live alumni pile on the quirks. Now how could I possibly recommend this out of my own selfish satisfaction when I know there's no rhythm, rhyme or reason for "Anchorman's" existence?

The film is built around the basic premise of Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), news anchor at KVWN in San Diego whose reputation for fine women and neat whisky precedes his fame. Along with his three wildly different colleagues main man Brian (Paul Rudd), sports presenter Champ (David Koechner playing a sexually-confused Texan) and demented dimwit Brick (Steve Carell playing a weatherman with an IQ of 48 who, as the film finally reveals, has a future in GW Bush's government) - they form an exclusive domain of men the balance of which is threatened by the arrival of Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) as co-anchor. That's essentially all there is to it plot-wise. We have subplots of Ron losing his job, the newsworthy coverage of a cat fashion-show and, let's not get ahead of ourselves, just plain good ol' comic mayhem. The fun is nonsensical and it's clearly designed for a certain audience those of us who liked enough of the film in its current state to revisit it several times over in order to make more sense of the cast's off-kilter shenanigans. And if a lot of it feels improvised then it is (the actors would sometimes do up to 20 different versions of same lines if they didn't ad-lib most of the dialogues in the first place). The film makers compiled so many extra scenes and sub-plots that a second full feature-length entitled "Wake up Rob Burgundy" is already slated for release on DVD later in the year. But isn't less, more?

Despite the zesty audacity of refraining from convention writer/director Adam McKay does not go for tried-and-tested physical comedy for the most part - many of the best laughs come from gags that were clearly rehearsed. Now back to my original debate: Should I, knowing what I've already told you, still recommend "Anchorman" despite its many faults? I'd like to believe you have come to trust this humble critic; yes. - Adnan Khan

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