the take

‘Anchorman’ Is Not As Funny As You Remember

Courtesy of DreamWorks

The comments section of our Judd Apatow math-o-matic post has been buzzing with readers — including some Benedict Mathis-Arnolds on our very own staff — politely calling us idiots for calling Anchorman just an okay movie. In the comments, the Will Ferrell comedy gets called “classic,” “classique,” and “fucking incredible,” and the thread has become something of an Anchorman quote-o-rama.

And it’s true that Anchorman has some great lines. Hell, we can contribute a few that you guys haven’t even mentioned yet: “Milk was a bad choice!” “Go fuck yourself, San Diego!” “Yeah, I stabbed a man in the heart!” We don’t deny that many of those individual moments are awfully funny. It’s those funny lines that got Anchorman its ranking as “okay,” rather than “stupid.” It sure wasn’t the plot!

We think that Anchorman is one of those movies for which one feels more affection the further away one gets. The 30 funny minutes stick in one’s memory, sure, even as one forgets the long, saggy hour that holds those funny bits up. If you’ve seen the movie recently — as we did, on a late-night showing on HBOZ — you tend to be a lot less sentimental about it, as you find yourself waiting impatiently for the good stuff, then once it comes, waiting impatiently for more.

Sure, we derive a great deal of pleasure from comedies that sacrifice realistic plot for the sake of laughs, but they aren’t the kinds of movies that reward repeat viewing without the aid of controlled substances. And so while we love watching Steve Carell kill a guy with a trident, we don’t love being forced to watch the tiresome decline and fall of Ron Burgundy, or the foolish Baxter the dog subplot, or the ridiculous romance, or that lame-ass final sequence with the grizzly bears. We’d rather watch a movie that employs hilarious bits in the service of a story we care about and characters we recognize. We’re old-fashioned, we guess.

Anyways, people, math doesn’t lie.

Earlier: Will This Judd Apatow Movie Be Any Good? Vulture Does the Math

‘Anchorman’ Is Not As Funny As You Remember