By Clint Morris
The problem with some of the films headlined by ex-”Saturday Night Live” (SNL) stars is that they’ve seemingly been conceived the same way a skit on the sketch comedy show are.
They start with the main gag, add some mildly engaging padding, and throw a chunk of nothing in the middle just to help the bit run longer and then have one or two surprise guests drop by to add a bit of spark to the fledging spot.
Will Ferrell’s latest, ”Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”, is very, very similar to something we would’ve seen on ”Saturday Night Live”.
For starters, everything from the swinging 70’s era that the film is set in has been painstakingly replicated (the suits, the moustaches, the attitude) but everything else – like ceaseless gags and a novel script – has been put second. Thankfully then, there’s a few surprise guests that stop by to liven proceedings!
Ferrell plays a TV news anchorman in 1970’s San Diego. He’s a hit with the ladies and a hit with the viewers. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a clue about journalism. When the network decides to hire a female (shock horror!) to co-anchor, in an effort to expose their diversity, Ron Burgundy starts to panic – and rightfully so, she actually knows what she’s doing.
While the film itself is quite a novel idea, one wonders if it would’ve worked as well as it does without the welcome presence of Will Ferrell.
Ferrell’s tailor-made for the role of the coarse, screw-loose, narcissistic Anchorman. In addition, he’s backed up by a terrific supporting cast – predominantly, Steve Carell playing a mindless weatherman.
Like the buttons on an old ‘Star Wars’ toy, some things work, and some thing’s don’t. The endless cameos – Jack Black, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, to name but a couple – sizzle, but some of Burgundy’s scenes absolutely fizzle.
”Anchorman” might be worth tuning into, but you don’t need to pay it a lot of attention.
Blu-Ray Details and Extras
Picture looks great in both the theatrical and extended editions – in fact, the only beef one can find is some noise and the obvious transition to the extended/branched scenes in the extended edition. Small beef though.
The audio is equally faultless – in fact, it’s so good I believe you can even hear the faint sound of giggling going on in some of the scenes. Listen closely.
The ‘new’ extras include nearly an hour of deleted scenes, recording-session footage of the guys singing ‘Afternoon Delight’, a funny little piece with some of the other actors that apparently missed out on the movie testing out for the key roles, and Ron Burgundy’s ‘Happy Birthday’ message to AMC theatres.
Extras ported over from the previously-released DVD include a full cast commentary, a couple of TV specials, and footage of Burgundy interviewing celebs on the red carpet.
The Second-disc includes ”Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie ”, a film based on a discarded subplot about wacky revolutionaries looking for PR, complete with commentary.