It’s a film that launched a thousand ships in terms of the careers of its ensemble. Will Ferrell had already broken through decisively the year before with Old School (2003), featuring another solid ensemble of later dubbed the “Frat Pack”. Anchorman‘s ensemble though would arguably be stronger as it signaled the breakout of Steve Carrell, whose every line is gold in the film, and Paul Rudd. Both, like Ferrell, would go on to become headliners in films like 40 Year Old Virgin, I Love You, Man, Date Night, Dan in Real Life, Get Smart and Role Models while playing strong supporting roles in Little Miss Sunshine, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Knocked Up. The pair reunited for Dinner with Schmucks, although the film was decidedly not one of their finer efforts.
David Koechner played mostly supporting roles in a slew of films, which had varying degrees of success both at the box office and in the eyes of critics. Koechner is brilliant in many supporting roles delivering lines with a smug, overly confident Midwestern affectation that with which many of the roles are tinged (he nailed one of my favorite lines from Talladega Nights).
Christina Applegate had the most unfortunate career post-Anchorman, battling breast cancer and only able to star in three feature films. Applegate’s comedic chops are well established dating back to “Married with Children”, but one wonders if her prime years may have been lost to disease or whether she’ll able to rebound. Here’s hoping to a return.
The strength of the Anchorman lay in the suitability of each actor in each role; there was nothing forced about the interactions. Despite the preposterous nature of the proceedings, the actors were able to keep up a deadpan delivery that sold the comedy more and more upon repeated viewings. In my opinion, Anchorman ranks as one of the few films (Big Lebowski comes to mind) that gets consistently funnier on subsequent views. I thought it was a “had-its-moments-but-didn’t-quite-click” film the first time around; now, after about 30 more watches, it’s one of my favorites.
See also: Best Score – Afternoon Delight (link does involve an autoplay video).
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