2004, US, directed by Adam McKay
I may be doomed never to fully appreciate the comic talents of Will Ferrell, but it's a burden with which I can live. Ferrell was amusing in Elf, although credit should also be given to a half-decent script, but in other fare, like Wedding Crashers, he's invariably the least amusing element of the film (I'm glad no-one was tempted to give him a 'surprise' cameo in The 40-Year-Old Virgin). As writer and star of Anchorman, he should take the lion's share of the blame for the unfunny shenanigans: the first 30 minutes are flat-out painful, with cast and director apparently convinced their set-up is uproariously funny in and of itself, whereas it's really a pretty tired recycling of 70's pastiche (even the weak film version of Starsky and Hutch did it better). Like so many movies from the Saturday Night Live crew, even when individual scenes amuse the whole film barely hangs together; there are many extraneous bits that, no doubt, proved wildly amusing to the makers while constituting an endurance test for audiences. Fortunately, there are several excellent supporting performances, most notably from Fred Willard and Steve Carell, both of whom are consistently hilarious, while one or two scenes - the epic fight between competing news teams, for example - raise the humour level several notches.