My brother quoted a line out of Anchorman that immediately caused my wife to put it at the top of our Netflix list. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to see Steve Carrell screw up the news like he did in Bruce Almighty.
Anchorman has a plot, but does anyone care? It's mostly about Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) playing a 70s overconfident anchorman whose macho buddy-verse consisting of Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Brick Tamland (Steve Carrell), and Champ Kind (David Koechner) is disrupted by the promotion of Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) into their news ranks. Mostly.
Anchorman is all over the place. It pokes fun at news shows, like how they all hate each other like 50s gangs (and imagines them duking it out with bats in alleys). It jokes about how the intelligence requirements to become a weatherman (Brick has an IQ of 48 and is "what some people call mentally retarded.") It mocks 70s fashion (Look at those shoes! That moustache! Those slacks!). It painfully wrangles with the struggle of equality in the workplace. Sometimes it's about the love between a man and a woman…and sometimes it's about the love between a man and his dog.
Anchorman's a lot of things, not all of them funny. In fact, Carrell is far funnier than Ferrell, and he has a lot less lines. Ferrell infuses Burgundy with a vague accent that he drops in and out of. He says all his lines like a kid play-acting in front of his high school class. Being funny takes a lot of work, but it shouldn't look like it: Ferrell seems constipated for most of the movie. That leaves poor Applegate to shoulder the burden, bless her heart…but she's the straightwoman, so there's not a lot she can do to help.
It's hard to say a comedy is bad. Just about every movie can be funny, even unintentionally, and a judgment on quality humor is extremely subjective. I have to be honest, though: Anchorman feels lazy. It doesn't really have a plot, the acting is terrible, and most of the jokes are beaten to brutal, bloody deaths. I mean, jazz flute is funny and all, but after awhile you need to put the flute down and tell a joke or something. The ending doesn't even make any sense (and it's clear, after watching what was cut, that they cut a major plot point).
I love Carrell though. His lines alone make the film worth watching. And now that I've seen it…
"I love lamp."