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Face-Off: Zoolander vs. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

02.23.2016by: Brian Bitner
ZOOLANDER 2 has been in theaters for over a week, and the reviews have not been kind (you can read our 4/10 review here). ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES wasn't terribly well-received by fans or critics, either, but it didn't take quite the thrashing 2OOLANDER is getting. While it's a shame to see teams reunite after so many years for lackluster follow-ups, it doesn't change the fact that ZOOLANDER and ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY were two of the most beloved comedies of the 2000's. That's right, gang; it's a walk-off! Since David Bowie is no longer available to judge, if nobody has any objections, I believe I might be of service. Okay, boys, let's go to work.
LEAD
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander. While Stiller has a lot of great moments, the moronic, overly sensitive shtick is really hit or miss and gets old fast if you're not on board with it.
Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy became one of the most imitated characters of the mid-2000's. Granted, Ferrell's performance also feels a little one note, but it's a more enjoyable one overall.
SUPPORTING CAST
Owen Wilson as Hansel
Christine Taylor as Matilda Jeffries
Will Ferrell as Mugatu
Milla Jovovich as Katinka
Jerry Stiller as Maury Ballstein
David Duchovny as J. P. Prewitt
Jon Voight as Larry Zoolander
Nathan Lee Graham as Todd
Christina Applegate as Veronica Corningstone
Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana
Steve Carell as Brick Tamland
David Koechner as Champ Kind
Fred Willard as Ed Harken
Chris Parnell as Garth Holliday
Vince Vaughn as Wes Mantooth
Fred Armisen as Tino
CAMEOS
David Bowie, Billy Zane, Vince Vaughn, James Marsden, Christian Slater, Cuba Gooding Jr., Natalie Portman, Lenny Kravitz, Justin Theroux, Andy Dick, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Dorff, Jennifer Coolidge, Winona Ryder, Lance Bass, Tom Ford, Anne Meara, Garry Shandling, Nora Dunn, Lukas Haas, Judah Friedlander, Paris Hilton, Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, John Vargas, Tony Kanal, Endre Hules, Fabio, Tommy Hilfiger, Fred Durst, Mark Ronson, Heidi Klum, Tyson Beckford, Lil' Kim, Claudia Schiffer, Veronica Webb, Steve Kmetko, Carmen Kass, Frankie Rayder, Frederic Fekkai, Donatella Versace, The Little Kingz, Karl Lagerfeld, Sandra Bernhard, Malan Breton, Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton, Donald Trump, Melania Trump... and I'm sure I missed a few.
PLOT
A dimwitted male model at the end of his career is brainwashed in a secret plot to kill the Malaysian Prime Minister.

While the plot is meant to be ridiculous, movies like AUSTIN POWERS and the Leslie Nielsen fare already had the thriller parody genre feeling a bit stale. Points for the largely untapped fashion angle, though.
Anchorman Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 news team are threatened when Channel 4 hires a talented female co-anchor.

Setting this story around a very real shift in American history allows for some groundedness and verisimilitude (if only some). This one just makes it easier to get into the world of the film.
DIRECTION
As above, Ben Stiller goes balls to the wall with the direction here. It's certainly impressive that he can go so stylized and still allow for some great subtlety in the humor, but the whole thing ends up feeling hit or miss and several jokes fall flat as a result.
Along with creating a look that feels very 1970's, Adam McKay takes a page out of the decade, allowing for longer takes and minimal cuts (for a comedy) and having faith that the writing and actors will take care of the rest.
QUOTES
"I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is."

"I wasn't like every other kid, you know, who dreams about being an astronaut, I was always more interested in what bark was made out of on a tree. Richard Gere's a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that. I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I'm selling? No. Do I know what I'm doing today? No. But I'm here, and I'm gonna give it my best shot."

"Rufus, Brint, and Meekus were like brothers to me. And when I say brother, I don't mean, like, an actual brother, but I mean it like the way black people use it. Which is more meaningful I think."

"What is this? A center for ants? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read... if they can't even fit inside the building?"

"There was a moment last night, when she was sandwiched between the two Finnish dwarves and the Maori tribesmen, where I thought, 'wow, I could really spend the rest of my life with this woman.'"

"I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

"You think that you're too cool for school, but I have a newsflash for you Walter Cronkite... you aren't."

"I can Dere-lick my own balls, thank you very much."

"Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty."

"Merman... merMAN!"

"They're breakdance fighting!"

"I turned left!"
"You stay classy, San Diego. I'm Ron Burgundy?"

"I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly..."

"Hey everyone! Come see how good I look!"

"I'm kind of a big deal... I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany."

"I wanna say something. I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. I want to be on you."

"I'm in a glass case of emotion!"

"I love lamp."

"Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means a whale's vagina."

"60% of the time, it works every time."

"I ate fiberglass insulation. It wasn't cotton candy like the guy said. My tummy itches."

"What? You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole wheel of cheese? How'd you do that? Heck, I'm not even mad; that's amazing."

"Milk was a bad choice."

"You are a smelly pirate hooker."

"I would like to extend to you an invitation to the pants party."

"Where'd you get your clothes? From the... toilet store?"

"I will smash your face into a car windshield, and then take your mother Dorothy Mantooth out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again."

"That escalated quickly."
BOX OFFICE & ACCOLADES
IMDB: 6.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 64% (User score: 80%)
Metacritic: 61 (User score: 6.5)
Domestic Total Gross: $45,172,250
IMDB: 7.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 66% (User score: 86%)
Metacritic: 63% (User score: 7.8)
Domestic Total Gross: $85,288,303
ANCHORMAN
Well, I expected ANCHORMAN to come out on top, but I didn't think it would be that much of a thrashing. Both films certainly have a huge audience, but it feels like ZOOLANDER hasn't stood the test of time quite as well (as evidenced by the fact that excitement over ZOOLANDER NO. 2 hasn't been overwhelming). Am I way off? Even if you agree with the verdict, are there some categories you think ZOOLANDER should get more credit for? Let me know down below!



Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

If you have a suggestion for a future Face-Off, let us know below or send me an email at brianbitner@joblo.com.

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+0
2:22AM on 02/25/2016
I like Zoolander better.
I like Zoolander better.
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+0
8:06PM on 02/24/2016
I love both, but I have to agree with this outcome. Anchorman is it.
I love both, but I have to agree with this outcome. Anchorman is it.
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6:39PM on 02/23/2016
I've seen more people mimicing Zoolander (La Tigra, Blue Steel, Magnum) than Ron Burgundy!
Both are funny movies but I prefer the male model's story to the news anchor's legend.
I've seen more people mimicing Zoolander (La Tigra, Blue Steel, Magnum) than Ron Burgundy!
Both are funny movies but I prefer the male model's story to the news anchor's legend.
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3:20PM on 02/23/2016

Anchorman

For the news team brawl alone.
For the news team brawl alone.
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2:57PM on 02/23/2016
Would have been better if it's Dumb Dumber vs The Anchorman or Zoolander vs Tropic Thunder.My Favourite Comedy films
Would have been better if it's Dumb Dumber vs The Anchorman or Zoolander vs Tropic Thunder.My Favourite Comedy films
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2:21PM on 02/23/2016

Zoolander if based off just the originals

Both great but Zoolander is 10x better. More original characters than Anchorman. Will Ferrell is the same dude just with a different outfit in most of his movies. Arrogant, sexist, oblivious to reality. Ricky Bobby is Ron Burgundy except if Ron was a race car driver, same with Blades of Glory, all sexist, alcoholics, sex addicts, non pc, racist, ect. Zoolander makes all the cast around him better. In Anchorman his cast is mostly the same as him. Paul Rudd is sexist, alcoholic, womanizer, along
Both great but Zoolander is 10x better. More original characters than Anchorman. Will Ferrell is the same dude just with a different outfit in most of his movies. Arrogant, sexist, oblivious to reality. Ricky Bobby is Ron Burgundy except if Ron was a race car driver, same with Blades of Glory, all sexist, alcoholics, sex addicts, non pc, racist, ect. Zoolander makes all the cast around him better. In Anchorman his cast is mostly the same as him. Paul Rudd is sexist, alcoholic, womanizer, along with the cowboy anchor. Great funny characters but the gasoline fight trumps every scene in Anchorman. Think about it.....the funniest scene in anchorman might be the fight scene with all the news crews, the opening scene pool party, or the whatever but the gas fight beats all those.
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1:52PM on 02/23/2016

ANCHORMAN-6/10; ZOOLANDER-8/10

You're right about ZOOLANDER's plot not being something new at the time, but I still enjoyed how much effort they put into it. By comparison, ANCHORMAN is a series of sketches. You're also right about the shticks not being for everyone but, putting the perfomances aside, DEREK is a loveable idiot while RON is a jerk.
You're right about ZOOLANDER's plot not being something new at the time, but I still enjoyed how much effort they put into it. By comparison, ANCHORMAN is a series of sketches. You're also right about the shticks not being for everyone but, putting the perfomances aside, DEREK is a loveable idiot while RON is a jerk.
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3:02PM on 02/23/2016
A lovable jerk.
A lovable jerk.
1:20PM on 02/23/2016

I prefer Zoolander for its brilliant satire

As for the sequels, both are really bad, but I'd take Anchorman 2 over Zoolander 2. I couldn't believe just how bad they screwed up Zoolander 2 after the previews were halfway decent. Best scene in the movie is that fake commercial with Zoolander as a man-cow.
As for the sequels, both are really bad, but I'd take Anchorman 2 over Zoolander 2. I couldn't believe just how bad they screwed up Zoolander 2 after the previews were halfway decent. Best scene in the movie is that fake commercial with Zoolander as a man-cow.
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