Will Ferrell gravitates toward boyish, overeager characters (Elf), but he outdoes himself in this 2004 comedy, as a chauvinistic 70s newscaster whose comfort zone is violated by an aggressive and beautiful reporter (Christina Applegate). The satirical targets—vacuous local news, disco-era sexuality, Burt Reynolds-style machismo—couldn't be much broader, but writer-director Adam McKay, a veteran of Upright Citizens Brigade, knows how to punch up an obvious story with off-kilter gags: in one scene Farrell and his cocky news team (Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner) try to fathom the meaning of romantic love but end up harmonizing on the Starland Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight." Having Bill Kurtis supply the voice-over narration was a stroke of genius.
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