"I love scotch, scotchy scotch scotch, here it goes down, down into my belly. Mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm."
"Oh, I'm on right now? I don't believe you."
One of the funniest movies I've seen in a while, "Anchorman" is a hilarious look at 70's broadcast news, which - at least for a while, was men only. The fact that no one even ponders 70's newsbroadcasters makes this parody even a bit funnier. The film focuses on a San Diego news station populated by sports reporter Champ Kind (David Koechner), on-the-spot reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). However, none compared with the station's legendary anchorman, Ron Burgundy (Will Farrell), a completely shallow and egoistical reporter (in his dressing room, Burgundy shouts, "Hey everyone, come and see how good I look!"). Like the rest, he's not particularly bright, but can read off a teleprompter (quite literally: when a question mark gets tacked onto "I'm Ron Burgundy" at the end of the show, he reads it without question.)
However, things change when Ed Harken (Fred Willard) decides to add some "diversity" to the newsroom, and brings in Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). Although she's being given puff pieces (a cat fashion show), once Ron gets in late, she's given a chance at the top seat and gets to share it with Ron, much to everyone's dismay. Despite their new relationship, what will Ron think when her ambition to be an anchorwoman gets in the way of what Ron thinks their relationship will be.
Probably the most quotable movie of the year, "Anchorman" does have a few slow spots, but the picture keeps throwing out bizarrely funny lines and pulls together some incredibly silly bits (a "rumble" - rule #1 is now touching of the hair or face - between competing news crews, a random performance of "Afternoon Delight" and Burgundy's insanely funny conversations with his dog) that create the film's world wonderfully. The performances are also superb - Farrell's brilliantly ego-driven anchor is a priceless comic creation, and Farrell's timing has rarely been better. Carrell's low-IQ weatherman is also genius, as the actor wonderfully delivers some of the most amusingly brainless lines I've heard in ages. The supporting performances are excellent, and look for some great cameos from Vince Vaughn, Jack Black, Tim Robbins (Robbins is a brilliant comedian, I wish he'd do more) and others. Bill Curtis does wonderful narration for parts of the film.
Although it got a bit of a mixed reaction upon release, I thought "Anchorman" was easily one of the funniest films I've seen this year. It's a collection of bits, to be sure, but they're some of the most inspired, beautifully delivered comic gems I've seen all year.
This is the unrated edition, which adds about 6 more minutes of spicy language into the picture.
VIDEO: "Anchorman" is presented by Dreamworks in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality is generally pretty good, although there are a few minor issues that took away from the presentation. Sharpness and detail are usually acceptable, although there were a few scenes on occasion that looked a tad soft.
Some other concerns also presented themselves at times. A slight amount of edge enhancement was spotted briefly in a couple of scenes, while some minor traces of pixelation appeared. A couple of patches also had a little bit of a "digital" appearance. The print was largely in very fine shape, although a couple of minor specks were spotted. Colors were portrayed accurately, with no smearing and nice saturation. Flesh tones looked natural, too.
SOUND: "Anchorman" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's soundtrack is pretty standard comedy fare, with little in the way of surround use (aside from some minor reinforcement of the score and slight ambience.) Audio quality is fine, with clear dialogue and a full, crisp score.
EXTRAS: The main supplement is a commentary with actor Will Farrell and director Adam McKay, who are joined at points throughout the commentary by guests Lou Rawls, Kyle Gass, Andy Richter, David Koechner, Paul Rudd and Christina Applegate. One of the funnier moments comes early on, as Rudd gets playfully insulted by Richter, and responds with "kind" words about "Quintuplets". It all turns into a jokey brawl between the guests and the star/director. The commentary doesn't offer too much in the way of information about the production (although there is some hilarious bits about using a certain $480,000 "lens" in a scene), but the structure is amusing and the guest stars are integrated very well into the proceedings. Overall, it's very funny and well-worth a listen.
After that, we get almost 8 minutes of hilarious outtakes and a brief "making-of" documentary. Following that up are a 10-minute interview between Ron Burgundy and Bill Curtis, as well as a music video for "Afternoon Delight". Rounding things out are Ron Burgundy's ESPN audition tape, trailers for other Dreamworks titles, no less than 23 (a total of about 30 minutes) deleted scenes (some are unnecessary or extensions that could easily have gone for pacing reasons, but there are also some hilarious bits to be found within), Ron Burgundy at the MTV Movie Awards and production notes/bios.
Final Thoughts: "Anchorman" offers some extremely funny bits, great performances and memorable dialogue. It's easily one of the year's funniest comedies - if not the funniest. Dreamworks has put together a fine DVD, with good audio/video quality and a lot of solid supplements. Highly recommended.
The Film *** 1/2