Will Ferrell is one of those comedians. Some people "get it." All he has to do is stare poker-faced into the camera, and they start laughing. Others "don't get it," and think he's just trying to be offensive or annoying. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy will do nothing to change that. Farrell's fans will enjoy 91 minutes of what they'll consider uproarious comedy, while others will again be repelled by his brand of buffoonery.
To trace the history of bawdy humor, you'd have to investigate literature as timeworn as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and beyond. Writers as prominent as Shakespeare, Chesterton, and even C.S. Lewis appreciated risqué humor, so long as it was artfully delivered.
Television's Saturday Night Live has been a factory of bawdy humor for decades. Most of it has been crass, cheap, and even mean-spirited. But occasionally, it has been sophisticated, and has helped us avoid taking ourselves too seriously. Further, it has sometimes poked fun at things that needed to be laughed at. Dan Akroyd and Steve Martin made a mockery of swinging '70s bachelors with their "wild and crazy guys." Mike Meyers lampooned the inappropriate sexual recklessness of James Bond in his Austin Powers series. And a few years back, Will Ferrell poked fun at brash, libertine sexuality with a series of hot-tubbing skits.
Now that Ferrell's conquering the big screen, he's bringing his own brand of bawdiness with him. Thus, he's sure to offend viewers who don't see the humor in such stuff. And, frankly, he does often dwell on randy humor to an inappropriate degree. But others will reject him merely because they don't think he's funny.
It's my responsibility as a critic to inform you, much of the humor in Anchorman is off-color, sophomoric, ...1
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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
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