Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 38
  2. Negative: 2 out of 38
Watch On
  1. 100
    Full force Will Ferrell at his best. And as an added bonus, we all get one of the funniest movies of the year...that is if you don't mind your humor on the rude and crude side.
  2. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    It strides above its crudeness like a colossus. It's smart people telling dumb jokes with a brilliant sense of irony. Anchorman gives you permission to laugh like an idiot.
  3. You will laugh. Then you will laugh some more. Then you will laugh still again.
  4. 88
    To discover why movie fans are screaming for more Will Ferrell, and to savor the work of improv wizards like Carell, go see Anchorman.
  5. Wonderfully silly all the time.
  6. 80
    The voice-over narration by Bill Kurtis is a stroke of genius.
  7. In this context Ferrell seems more than just comic relief. He's a reminder that the greatest, deepest laughter doesn't come at the expense of some other guy, but from the glints of self-recognition we get when the screen becomes our mirror.
  8. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Generates enough inspired lunacy to sail past the arid stretches and provide a welcome splash of breezy, at times jaw-droppingly bizarre summer fun.
  9. It takes a while to get used to the film's campy characters and its broad, "Ace Ventura" stylings. But Ferrell is the anti-Jim Carrey -- his deadpan comic mannerisms are infectiously funny, and his cluelessly narcissistic Burgundy is a joy to follow.
  10. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    That he can make his anchorman chauvinistic, deluded and ridiculous but still manage to give him some humanity is testimony to Ferrell's comic talents.
  11. 75
    Most of the time, though, Anchorman works, and a lot of the time it's very funny.
  12. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    Anchorman is the kind of wonderful, cotton-candy escapism that should leave you with the right kind of stomachache.
  13. 75
    There's no sense to the scene in which the boys get together for a close-harmony rendition of "Afternoon Delight" -- just pure pleasure.
  14. 75
    It's hard to say whether Anchorman is the funniest movie of the year - it has enough offbeat and gut-busting moments to make it worth consideration in that category.
  15. An engagingly knuckleheaded comic vehicle for former Saturday Night Live trouper Will Ferrell.
  16. 70
    Burgundy and Carell's Brick Tamland, by himself, would be worth the price of admission.
  17. Does make you laugh even if you hate yourself for doing so. A creation of former "Saturday Night Live" colleagues, the comedy plays like an extended skit with bits of improvisation and several slightly extended sequences.
  18. 70
    In McKay, Ferrell has found an unusually simpatico collaborator for the type of humor that's made him a comedy force: outsized, unexpectedly sweet, and unrelenting.
  19. At its best it plays like modern-day Marx Brothers in which every single thing that happens makes no sense and serves no purpose and nothing happens for any reason at all. It exists solely to get a laugh, not to make a point.
  20. What we get is more of the same from Ferrell – funny faces, goofy accents, pratfalls aplenty – and that ain't bad. It just could have been a lot better.
  21. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Sloppy, crude, pursuing the most far-flung tangents in hopes of a laugh, Anchorman still gave me more stupid giggles than I'd care to admit.
  22. Will Ferrell is a scream, no doubt about it. And Anchorman contains some of his best work. But, Knights of Columbus! Wouldn't it be great if TV-based comedians weren't afraid of making movies that were funnier than they are?
  23. The movie may lack a lot of things, but it doesn't lack comic timing--or, in its own way, a nose for the news.
  24. Reviewed by: Angel Cohn
    The film is wickedly funny and a first-rate showcase for Ferrell.
  25. 60
    It has a pleasing, noodly elasticity about it -- the picture knows what its limits are and proceeds to boogie unself-consciously far outside them.
  26. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    If it were any more manic you’d have to put it on Ritalin.
  27. More amusing than annoying. It is not as maniacally uninhibited as "Old School" or as dementedly lovable as "Elf," but its cheerful dumbness is hard to resist.
  28. The movie is funny when it's nasty, as when Ron and Veronica trade insults at the anchor desk. Most of the time, though, it's not nasty enough.
  29. I can't help but feel that a funny movie was waiting to be unearthed amid all this self-congratulation and juvenile prankishness.
  30. 50
    Often so silly, it's surreal.
  31. The sweet spirit that made last year's "Elf" such a success has curdled considerably.
  32. Feels like an extended skit stretched and stretched, maybe not to the breaking point, but to the sagging point.
  33. Reviewed by: Ed Park
    As parody, it's toothless and often smug, but as random Ferrellspeak generator, it has its delights.
  34. 50
    A lazy, self-satisfied piece of work -- a comedy made by people who think so highly of themselves, they assume they'll get a laugh just by showing up in front of the camera.
  35. Ferrell, of course, has his moments. But he doesn't have an engaging "center" as a comedian.
  36. 40
    Anchorman has one amusing character, a dumb weatherman played by Steve Carell, and a nicely observed set piece about what newscasters really say to one another when they're shuffling papers between segments. Otherwise it's a long string of heavy-footed sight and sound gags.
  37. Reviewed by: Karen Karbo
    Their collective timing is so off that the dead space around their endless bits is like that more commonly experienced during a job interview gone wrong.
  38. Imagine a movie where every character is more self-centered than Ted Baxter in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" of old, add a caboodle of idiotic jokes, and you have some idea of this ugly, unfunny farce.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 400 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 28 out of 154
  1. boolooloo
    Mar 16, 2009
    Between my 3 friends at school and me we have seen this 43 times. Brilliance from Adam Mckay.
  2. Oct 28, 2012
    I really can't fathom why a movie like this is popular. It's just Will Ferrell saying stupid things in a tone he considers to be comedic. IfI really can't fathom why a movie like this is popular. It's just Will Ferrell saying stupid things in a tone he considers to be comedic. If you can shut off your brain for 90 minutes, this might be enjoyable, but if you prefer to laugh at movies that are written with wit and intelligence, you might want to stay away from this one. It is one of the most overrated comedies of the 21st century, as well as one of the worst. I think this sort of act from Will Ferrell was popular when this movie came out, but now I think people are starting to get sick of it, and I can't imagine the sequel getting good reviews. I could find the same level of intelligent humor on Nickelodeon or The Cartoon Network, just not as crude. I wouldn't mind the crudeness if it were actually funny or clever, but this movie was far from that. I didn't laugh one time. I'd like to sit down with someone who found this movie funny, and ask them to explain the humor in every joke. Thinking about the jokes in a great comedy causes those jokes to flourish, and the value of the humor increases. Try to dissect each moment of purported humor in this movie, and you will truly find nobody home. Full Review »
  3. Sep 1, 2014
    Despite overwhelming praise for Anchorman over the past ten years, I still have little appreciation for this "comic" flick. Will Ferrell isDespite overwhelming praise for Anchorman over the past ten years, I still have little appreciation for this "comic" flick. Will Ferrell is Will Ferrell and nothing more. His unfunny antics are just as present here as they are in every other disappointing Ferrell flick. Full Review »