Ferrell’s Anchorman illustrates life of a news anchor

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy features the same juvenile humor and toilet jokes that overrun dozens of comedies. But Anchorman is one of the few that hits all the right marks, from an absurd storyline to the mindlessness of Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his news team. The big laughs are generously sprinkled throughout the film, but Anchorman suffers from far too many moments of manufactured warmth that makes certain scenes humorless, and nearly unbearable.

The film has amassed an impressive cast of comedic actors, from Bruce Almighty’s David Koechner to The Daily Show’s Steve Carell and, fresh off his recurring guest spot on Friends, Paul Rudd. The cast works well together and Anchorman’s leads, Ferrell and Christina Applegate, elevate the film to create a highly enjoyable end product.

In San Diego, Ron Burgundy is living the life as the city’s No. 1 newscaster — that is, until network heads decide to expand the diversity of the newsroom by hiring a woman. The controversial decision has the then-male-dominated world of television journalism up in arms. Burgundy is too busy being smitten with Veronica Corningstone (Applegate) to listen to the rants of his peers.

The romance quickly fizzles when Ron is upset at Veronica for stepping in as anchor in his absence. The office infighting begins as the two former lovers are now forced to share the news desk.

Anchorman sports the best comedic team this summer. Ferrell is the group’s undisputed leader, who single handedly carries much of the film with his keen gift for facial expressions. Following the success of Old School and Elf, Ferrell has poised himself to become one of the few recent Saturday Night Live alumni with a movie career.

Applegate, who manages to ruffle a few feathers as Veronica, might finally surpass the stigma of Kelly Bundy. Overshadowing her television personality by turning 180 degrees in the other direction from being dimwitted and easy, Veronica is determined, strong and career-driven. With a slew of films that were D.O.A. (The Sweetest Thing and View From the Top) at the box office, Applegate’s performance should earn her the sweet taste of redemption.

Ferrell and Adam McKay crafted the screenplay, which has a very cohesive plot with surprisingly few holes. McKay also steps behind the camera to direct the feature. He nicely strings all the scenes together his first time in the director’s chair.

Anchorman boasts strong cameos from Jack Black, Tim Robbins, Luke Wilson and, appearing in his fifth flick this year, Ben Stiller.

It’s possible to find better acting, a stronger plot or even solid direction, but viewers will be hard-pressed to find a funnier film than Anchorman this summer.