Making the Grades
In mid-1970s San Diego, Ron Burgundy (Will Farrell) is the man. No, he's not the mayor. He's not all that rich either. But he has the power because he's the top news anchorman in the city.
Anchorman rewinds the tape to the "glory" days of broadcast news when a good voice, the ability to read from a TelePrompTer, and being a male were the main ingredients to getting a spot under the bright lights. For Burgundy, a man who has a difficult time understanding basic human relations let alone international politics, it's a good thing the requirements aren't any more onerous.
The other members of the Channel 4 News Team reflect Burgundy's sophistication. Western themed sports guy Champ Kind (David Koechner) and intellectually bankrupt weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) are joined by smooth talking field reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd). Together, they present a version of the news from a definite male perspective-and that's something the network would like to change.
Unfortunately, the word "diversity" literally isn't in Burgundy's dictionary. He soon discovers its true definition when Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) walks into the newsroom. Not only is the attractive blonde the wrong gender-but she's smart, too-something the guys never expected from the fairer sex.
For anyone (like myself) who has spent some time in the television news industry, Anchorman will force you to crack a wry smile at these egotistical characterizations. While Burgundy may appear over-the-top, most industry insiders who date back to this era will identify with more than a few of his brash traits.
However, audiences simply looking for a comedy on the marquee may leave disappointed with the film's lack of plot and direction. Burgundy's fall from grace and feeble recovery is hardly engaging. Instead the film feels more like a set of skits from Saturday Night Live-the television program from which most of these cast members (including Ferrell who also co-wrote the script) originated.
Unlikely to be a film of interest for young children, parents may find the sexually oriented dialogue and sight gags too spicy even for teens. Priding himself as a man who has slept with a variety of women, Burgundy often makes chauvinistic remarks (intended to be taken as humor within this spoof), derogatory comments about gay men, and more explicit sexual cracks. He's depicted seducing a woman after which sex is heavily implied, while another extended scene shows him clothed with an obvious erection that is the topic of conversation.
Perhaps the most bizarre moment is another longer-than-necessary sequence where the news team engages in a very violent street battle with competing broadcasters. Again, it's all played for laughs, but characters are seen with graphic wounds, including a man whose arm is sliced off.
Sprinkled with profanities (including a single use of a sexual expletive), this innuendo-laden broadcast is unlikely to deliver good news for family viewing.
Note:Tis movie is also known as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Anchorman.
If you were responsible for hiring a news anchor, what skills would you look for? How would you weigh the qualities of image and intellect? What traits do you feel are essential to build an audience’s trust in a television personality?