Friday, January 14, 2005

"That's the way I roll"

Recently in the DVD player: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, starring Will Ferrell. What a frustrating hour and a half.

Usually, if there's a question nagging you while watching a movie, it's regarding a particular premise that doesn't quite seem right, or a character's motivation that's not terribly believable. But from about the 10-minute mark of Anchorman, the question bothering me was this:

Why would you take a promising idea, hire the entire Old School/Dodgeball crowd, and go to the trouble and expense of making a feature film, without having a script that makes any sense whatsoever?

I was actually reminded of an old Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episode - the end credits were rolling, and when "Written By" came up, Tom Servo cracked, "This movie had writers?"

Understand where I'm coming from - I'm inclined to like this kind of movie. I loves the slapstick. Airplane! was my favourite movie for at least the entire 80s. I loved Old School. While I agree with Simmons that Dodgeball would likely be funnier baked, I enjoyed it, too. And Anchorman had some silly moments that were rather funny - like when Ron Burgundy's explanation of love morphed into a 4-man a cappella version of Afternoon Delight (possibly the most unassumingly crass song in history until More Than Words came along).

Also, the characters were relatively likeable, funny, and well-played (Paul Rudd's chain-smoking poker-faced reporter made me laugh, as did Steve Carell's presumably lobotomized weatherman - "I love lamp").

But nothing that happened in the movie made sense.
  • Competing news teams talking some trash out in the field, I get. A full-scale donnybrook between 5 rival news teams, where one anchor has his arm cut off by a sword? That's called "taking the joke too far".
  • I'm all for suspension of disbelief, but consider: you are a news director on location at a major story, and your lead anchor goes missing. Three of your other reporters are standing right next to you. In what alternate universe is your next move to pull your disgraced and dishevelled former anchor (whom you fired 3 months ago for dropping an F-bomb at your viewers) out of a dive bar to fill in?
  • Most of all, the (ostensible) thread that is supposed to hold the "plot" together through the movie is the love/hate relationship between Christina Applegate's character and Ron Burgundy. Unfortunately, the movie gives us no discernible reason to believe that she is attracted to him. None! (Well, except maybe the tent he's pitching while they're having a "serious news conversation"). I realize Christina Applegate is no Hilary Swank, but you can't blame it all on bad acting. As a result, nothing that anyone does in this movie is believable (or in many cases, even explicable).

Anyway, if I had to give Anchorman a one-word review (like they plaster across newspaper ads to give movies some extra buzz), I think it would be "DUMB!"

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Addendum, just for the hell of it:
Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight,
Gonna grab some afternoon delight,
My motto's always been when it's right it's right,
Why wait until the middle of a cold dark night?

Whennnnn.. everything's a little clearer in the light of daaayyy?
Annnnnnd we know the night is always gonna be there anywaaayyy?

Thinking of you's working up my appetite,
Looking forward to a little afternoon delight,
Rubbing sticks and stones together makes the sparks ignite,
And the thought of loving you is getting so exciting,

Skyyy-rockets in flight - Afternoon Delight!
Hey, ey, Afternoon Delight!

It's stuck in my head - maybe I can give it away to you.

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