Will Ferrell, 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, 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 delivers on that, though occasionally Ferrell himself isn’t the one causing the laughs. As 1970s San Diego 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 an Austin Powers-like character to the US. Filled with quite a few cameos (look closely for a recent Oscar winner among several of Ferrell’s Old School cast mates), 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. Thank god someone discovered the sense to give him his own show.
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.
There’s a Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1 soundtrack here, though it’s mostly dialogue driven and in the center channel. And there’s not a lot of action here, so don’t expect too much subwoofer and surround action.
Well, the 1.85:1 widescreen is presented with an MPEG-4 encode which is nice, but it doesn’t really add much in the way of detail. Film grain stays present throughout most off the feature and a bit of detail can be made out in this new version, but you didn’t look to this for reference quality stuff anyway, right?
To their credit, Paramount/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. 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.
From there, an eight minute blooper reel follows. 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 ten 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 ten 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 three minute pretaped bit with Ron and Rebecca Romijn Stamos falls flat, along with a two minute ESPN audition tape. A half hour of deleted scenes, 22 in all, are next. 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.
A mildly funny film that has found a cult following on video with many memorable lines. The special features aren’t quite as good as expected, and if you haven’t got the original standard definition disc, or the two pack with a wholly recut Burgundy film, this is worth grabbing.