Anchorman

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ANCHORMAN: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy pulled a fair amount of hawhaw laffs back in 2004, grossing $90,600,000 by satirizing the idiotic manner of presentation employed by local and regional news stations. Done up in the throw-everything-against-the-wall-to-see-what-sticks style, it’s happy stupidity is 3/4 parts amusing and 1/4 irritating. A lot depends on how much Will Ferrell (a litmus test for many humans) you can bear. He does nail this, even if there’s just TOO MUCH YELLING! *

The 1970s, long may they bong. San Diego news titan ‘Ron Burgundy’ (Farrell) feels his place in the pantheon of Journalism Greats is secure, with loyal station confederates in field reporter/snake ‘Brian Fantana’ (Paul Rudd), sportscaster/oinker ‘Champ Kind’ (David Koechner) and meteorologist/moron ‘Brick Tamland’ (Steve Carell). The only fly in the guac is rival competitor ‘Wes Mantooth’ (Vince Vaughan). Then, out of the left field that includes a mere half of the species, comes a new threat, in the face, form and finesse of ‘Veronica Corningstone’ (Christina Applegate), determined to make her mark in the male-dominated world of News as We Knew It.

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Adam McKay directed, and co-wrote with Farrell, allowing the cast to find their own best insane way to mold the material clay. Gleefully absurd, it misses as many gags as it scores with, but the joke-load comes so fast and free that the hits work to shade the duds. You laugh in spite of yourself. Nothing wrong with that. It’s only when stream-of-patter nonsense lazily reverts to bellowing to cover dead zones that it grates. A minute (or 30 seconds) later, you’re giggling.

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By coming in 30th place for the year, the money tally erased the $26,000,000 price tag. Nine years later, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues did even better, hitting paydirt as the 23rd most popular movie of 2013.

Backing this original dorkorama: Chris Parnell, Kathryn Hahn, Fred Armisen, Fred Willard, Danny Trejo, Jack Black, Judd Apatow, Tim Robbins, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Missi Pyle, Seth Rogen. Bill Kurtis does the voiceover. 97 minutes.

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* Mr. Farrell: “He is my favorite character I’ve played, if I have to choose one … Looking back, that makes it the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done”….”We had no idea that certain lines would be quoted the way they are and that the film would just take on this life after it left theaters, but thank God it did.”

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