"Anchorman" Vs. "The Campaign"

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A 2012 political parody/comedy film which follows two rival politicians (played by Will Ferrell & Zach Galifianakis) who face off in an election to represent their small North Carolina congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
September 26th, 2012

"Anchorman" Vs. "The Campaign"

-- Will Ferrell started his career as an actor on the hit television series "Saturday Night Live." His famous sketches include ones where he played President George W. Bush and the cheerleader skits where he donned a Spartans' cheerleader uniform. After leaving the show, he embarked on an acting career that had a few hits and misses. Among the best-received movies of his career are the films "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" and "The Campaign." While these two films feature very different plots and actors, the two share a few things in common.

"The Campaign" landed in theaters in 2012, written by Shawn Harwell and directed by Jay Roach. The film paired Ferrell with actor Zach Galifianakis ("The Hangover"), another heavyweight comedian. The film focused on Cam Brady (Ferrell), a Democrat congressman who finds his reputation in question when he accidentally reveals an affair he had. His supporters find a local man named Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) and ask him to run for the ticket. When new supporters join the race and start molding Huggins into the perfect congressman, Brady must figure out a way to get himself back on top.

In addition to Galifianakis and Ferrell, the film also featured comedic turns from Dan Aykroyd ("The Blues Brothers"), John Lithgow ("3rd Rock from the Sun"), and Brian Cox ("Rushmore"). The film served as a satire of elections, coming out just before the 2012 elections. Ferrell and Galifianakis played two similar characters who each wanted the chance to become the next congressman. Galifianakis' character was a normal husband and father who was clueless when it came to politics, while Ferrell's character knew how to work the system but was still clueless about politics.

The film received mixed reviews during its early openings, with some reviewers scoring it quite low and others like Richard Roeper giving it glowing reviews. Despite those mixed reviews, the film grossed more than $26 million on its opening weekend and more than $79 million before leaving theaters.

Ferrell films often bring high box office takes, including "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy." The film grossed more than $28 million on its opening weekend and more than $90 million worldwide. Adam McKay served as director and cowriter, working on the screenplay with Ferrell. Empire named the film one of the top 500 movies of all time, while Bravo named it one of the 100 funniest films of all time.

The success of "Anchorman" led to several spin-offs all starring Ferrell. Ferrell and McKay worked together, gathering deleted scenes and outtakes from the filming to release "Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie." The film went straight to DVD, arriving near the holiday season of 2004. Ferrell also went on Conan O'Brien's talk show in 2012, dressed as Burgundy and announcing that a sequel was in the works. The new film, "Anchorman: The Legend Continues," lands in theaters in 2013.

"Anchorman" tells the story of Ron Burgundy (Ferrell), a famous reporter for a news station in San Diego during the 1970s. When his news team gets good news, they go out to celebrate and he awkwardly hits on a gorgeous woman. The next day, he learns that the woman is Veronica (Christina Applegate, "Hall Pass"), a new hire for the team. The two begin dating, but they share a painful breakup after Burgundy tells their viewers about their relationship. The rest of the film details his hilarious attempts to get his career and his relationship back on track.

Ferrell does best when he has a strong supporting cast, and he has one of the best supporting casts in "Anchorman," including Paul Rudd ("Wanderlust"), Steve Carell ("Date Night"), and David Koechner ("Final Destination 5"). Fred Willard ("American Wedding") and Jack Black ("School of Rock") turn up in secondary roles, while Vince Vaughn ("Wedding Crashers"), Luke Wilson ("Old School") and Ben Stiller ("There's Something About Mary") also appear in the film.

Both "The Campaign" and "Anchorman" tell humorous stories of people who almost seem real. Watching Ferrell portray Burgundy is like watching an actual reporter from the 1970s, and the film has a documentary feel thanks to the narration at the beginning and end. "The Campaign" is less realistic, but Ferrell does a good job portraying a politician who clearly does not deserve his job.

"Anchorman" received better reviews than "The Campaign" with reviewers giving the film three and four stars out of a four-star rating system. Entertainment Weekly picked Burgundy as one of its favorite characters of all time, and even Ferrell admits that Burgundy was his favorite role. Though the two films have little in common, both rank high on the list of top films from Ferrell's career.