Note made prior to watching this film. I saw this a few years ago and hated it, here is take 2.
Just finished watching it again. Initial impression?
Well, it still sucks balls.
Will Ferrell has made an ill-deserved career using opposite humour, it’s a simple formula:
- – If everyone acts normal, act zany.
- – If everyone is reserved, be irrational.
- – If everyone is hysterical, be ignorant and placid.
- – If everyone is smart, act bone numbingly stupid.
- – If all else fails, spout carefully thought out “improvisations” that involve generally religious sounding stuff alongside generally female genitalia.
(Also, be earnest and over-serious when the situation doesn’t deserve it and take your clothes off when everyone is clad.)
In this case the writer (Will Ferrell – Unbelievable isn’t it?) starts his script by first thinking “Where wouldn’t you expect Will Ferrell to show up?”
A basketball player? A Nascar racer? An ice skater? A gopher breeder?
A newscaster? In this case yes. Only then do they decide to consider other plot elements, and watching this film that part didn’t take too long, as the rest of the plot is largely pointless.
Right Will Ferrell is a newsman, let’s cast a bunch of other vaguely funny (and some unfunny) guys in supporting roles and even more as cameos and we have a film here.
Give them all silly names and cue the wacky improvisation.
I lasted 4 minutes into re-watching this film before I checked how long was left.
Ron Burgundy is a legendary newscaster and everyone loves him. How do we know this? Because we are told so at the start of the film, it’s an easy and lazy way to make a character appear great and important without actually showing him doing something that proves it, just tell the audience. (And if they are lazy enough it’ll work.)
The first 15 minutes introduces the characters and their great lives as newsmen, it includes a talking kid (which I hate), and an apparently hi-lar-ious joke where some idiot shat out a squirrel, which is only topped when another guy claimed to have eaten the squirrel.
The basic point of the script is how a bunch of guys react to a woman being introduced into a key role in what was previously a man’s world. That’s it, if the writers didn’t waste their time expanding beyond this flimsy premise I don’t see why I should.
I laughed for the first time about 20 minutes in after a joke about cologne, here is the joke: “60% of the time it works every time.” Only one minute later the joke is effectively erased by an even more powerful anti-joke. The cologne is so potent and foul smelling that it clears the room and a woman screams “It smells like Bigfoot’s dick.”
Oh boy that’s good stuff.
I laughed again about 50 minutes in when a motorcyclist (it was Jack Black but that is irrelevant) picks up a dog and says “Now this is happening” as he kicks the dog off a bridge. This movie is so bad it even made unnecessary cruelty to animals more funny than it should be, I just wish they kicked Ferrell off.
The only good scene is the gang war between 4 different news teams, and even that only because of the stupidity of the scene. The only thing that is pleasingly stupid.
I normally like Paul Rudd in these screwball comedies, I loved him in “The 40 Year Old Virgin”, “Knocked Up”, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and even “Role Models”. He seems to go just far enough into adlibbing without going overboard and treads the line between going for the joke and advancing the plot just enough. (I haven’t seen “I Love You Man” but I will.)
I think of Steve Carell in much the same way, and even though he doesn’t do much he is by far the best thing in this movie, Paul Rudd unfortunately adds nothing.
Will Ferrell actually has no off-switch, which I guess is why he is so revered by many. There is no joke he won’t go for, even when it must seem obvious to all that the joke sucks, his shtick works as a 4th banana in stuff like Zoolander, but I have never understood why him being an idiot for 90 minutes justified a movie.
The only guy worse than Ferrell in this is the guy who plays Champ Kind, the sports guy.
I hate this guy, I have never laughed at anything he has done or said and I gag whenever I see him pop up again in any role in any film. He is not funny. He has never been funny. He will never be funny. I hate him. In an ideal world he never appears in another film.
When the best aspect of the film is the costume, hair and music, there ain’t much going for it. I think most of the actors put on the wigs and 70’s clothes and thought they were half way there already.
The finale sucks, 95% off the jokes aren’t funny, Christina Applegate tries to play straight but even she occasionally stoops to sub-par “Whose line is it anyway?” rubbish.
Final Rating – 3 / 10. For a movie which is a supposed comedy to be this unfunny is just wrong. Three laughs in 90 minutes doesn’t offset the 95 jokes that died onscreen.