Arguably the last funny member of Saturday Night Live has picked some strange movies to be in since leaving the sketch comedy show. Appearing first as a co-star in Old School and then later in the kid-friendly (but cute) Elf, Will Ferrell took his time in getting to what fans wanted, a good PG-13 or better comedy for him to stretch his comedic talent.
By and large, Anchorman does deliver on that, though occasionally Ferrell himself isn’t the one causing the laughs. As 1970s San …iego newsman Ron Burgundy, Ferrell is the one everyone in town trusts, along with his newsteam. The chemistry is broken when female newscaster Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate, Married With Children) is hired. Ron has to resolve the conflicts between himself, his team and his new interest in Veronica…
Or something like that. In terms of premise, it’s basically bringing Austin Powers to the US. Filled with quite a few cameos (look closely for a recent Oscar winner among several of Ferrell’s Old School cast members), and Steve Carell’s performance as Brick the weatherman, which makes up many of the best moments in the film. In between this and Bruce Almighty, he’s got a knack for stealing some laughs from the big name stars.
All in all, the film is pretty funny in parts, and others don’t seem to hold up too well. The “unrated” version runs at just over 90 minutes, and it felt about 10 minutes too long for me. However, fans of Ferrell will find enough in it worthy to rewatch several times over.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 soundtracks sounds OK, and the surround speakers are used to decent effect, but not too much audio work is done for a movie like this.
Because the disc has got a bunch of special features (“over 60 minutes of fully loaded outrageous bonus features,” says the back cover), the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen version of the film suffers a little from the poor image it displays. There are some occasions where the detail is pretty good, but it looks like almost no work was done to preserve a clean, consistent image.
To their credit, Dreamworks loaded Anchorman with a ton of extras, but quite a few of them are hit or miss. Ferrell and director Adam McKay join forces for a commentary for the film. To go along with the schtick feel of the film, the commentary includes a lot of dropped f-bombs by the pair. That’s just the top of the iceberg, as Kyle Gass and Andy Richter come in later and complain about not being involved in the film, and get into a fight with Paul Rudd (who plays Burgundy’s newsteam buddy Brian Fantana), who phones in with some insight on the film, as does Applegate later during the track also. The unique part of the track was the addition of musician Lou Rawls, who admits he doesn’t know why he’s there, but winds up being floored by how well Ferrell and his group harmonize “Afternoon Delight.” While the track starts very slow, it’s OK in parts and may appeal to Ferrell fans.
The Dreamworks gang have loaded this disc up with enough extras to choke a puma, starting with an 8 minute blooper reel. Most of these were not in the blooper reel at the end credits, and many of these have a chuckle or two. The making of featurette is your usual 10 minute EPK look at the film, story and characters, while the music video for “Afternoon Delight” is cute, but not as hilarious as you’d expect.
A 10 minute conversation with Ron Burgundy is next, the first of a few in-character extras on the disc. Ferrell does his best to keep his composure, and cracks a couple of times, but this can be skipped over, along with Ron Burgundy at the MTV Movie Awards, where a 3 minute pretaped bit with Ron and Rebecca Romijn Stamos falls flat, along with a 2 minute ESPN audition tape.
A half hour of deleted scenes, 22 in all, are next. Some of these are alternate takes, while others appear in the Wake Up Ron Burgundy disc that appears in the 2 disc set that is also available. Some of the takes are pretty funny and may have been good enough to leave in (such as the Love Panda), but it’s understandable why they were cut.
Trailers for Collateral, The Terminal, The Bourne Supremacy, Wimbledon and Freeks and Geeks are next, along with biographies for 7 cast and 10 crew members. At over 60 text pages, the production notes should probably serve as a friggin’ book, but if nothing else it’s detailed.
A mildly funny film that is bound to find a cult following on video with many memorable lines. The special features aren’t quite as good as expected, but you can pick up the two-disc pack with the recut movie, which makes a very good package for Ferrell fans.
Special Features List
- Commentary by Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, the cast and guest commentators Andy Richter and Lou Rawls
- “Afternoon Delight” Music Video
- Making of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
- Deleted Scenes
- Ron Burgundy Interview with Bill Kurtis
- Ron Burgundy A&E Biography
- MTV Music Awards Interview with Rebecca Romijn-Stamos
- ESPN Audition