Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy – A Retrospective

AnchormanRetrospective

How now, brown cow. How now, brown cow.

Napoleon Dynamite, Team America: World Police, Mean Girls, Shaun of the Dead, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy; 2004 was a corker of a year for ridiculously quotable, instant cult-status comedy films. In this class of cinema sequels are few and far between and, more often than not, when one does come around recycled jokes and a loss of spark make them inferior. Odd then, that the general feeling towards the Anchorman sequel is one not of trepidation but excitement.

If I’m honest it took me a long time to come around to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy. I suffered from an unfortunate case of Stop Incessantly Quoting That Film, You Twerp that prevented me from even wanting to watch the blasted thing for four years. However, after the film was suggested for the sixty-seventh time during film night at university I caved, and I’ve never looked back. I immediately regretted that I hadn’t wanted Anchorman to be in me sooner.

A lot of comedies have come and gone in the last decade and yet Anchorman is still one of the most fondly remembered. From Baxter’s cheese eating habits to, well, Brick, Anchorman is loaded to the brim with eccentricities and characters built as if they were already universally loved (just look at this trailer for the original film). The comedies that collect the least dust on our shelves are the ones built with far-fetched and tenuous plots, incomparable stars and a variety show mentality – just try to tell me that Anchorman isn’t simply an excuse to plop a group of characters into a series of comically bizarre encounters to see how they react.

What makes Anchorman preside over other films that follow the aforementioned blueprint (like Superbad or The Hangover) is that the talent involved in The Legend of Ron Burgandy is a combined quintessence sketch troupe. With Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay (who incidentally co-founded, with producer Judd Apatow, Funny or Die) having found huge success on Saturday Night Live and most of the film’s cast having wide late night TV and/or improvisational backgrounds, Anchorman is littered with erratic comedy in every frame.

Like Wayne’s World or Dumb and Dumber or even any Monty Python movie before it, unadulterated comedy reins over actual plots and realism. As for sequels, how will we know that Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues won’t just consist of recycled jokes (the reappearance of Brian Fontana’s jimmy cabinet in the trailer admittedly worried me). We don’t, but Anchorman 2 has something going for it that many substandard comedy sequels never did: the return of all the major cast and crew. Just look at Dumb and Dumberer, Son of The Mask, Evan Almighty or Ace Ventura Jr. for solid proof that a sequel without its originals will almost certainly suck.*

*-You’ll notice that all of those examples were Jim Carrey comedies and how that point relates to the only shred of hope that Dumb and Dumber To will be amazing.

Regardless, when Anchorman’s PR offered me a seat at a refresher screening for the film (an extremely rare thing) I jumped at a seat. The audience sat, giddy – I with a pint of milk (a good choice!) – bawling and quoting and cheering and we were all filled with unquestionable excitement for The Legend Continues. Let’s hope that 60% of the time, an Anchorman sequel works every time.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is in UK cinemas from 18th December.