What is the funniest bit of Will Ferrell’s new comedy Anchorman? Is it the dog vs bear fight? Is it the jazz flute break? Is it the hoary old “take the piss out of sexism whilst the audience laughs at our sexist jokes” routine. Quite possibly. But my favourite gag in the film takes place in the credits out-takes sequence at the end.
Hmm. That sounds a bit like a criticism. After all if the funniest bit is when they fucked up, goofed off, or it did not make it into the film then how good can the film actually be? I am not sure if this argument is completely watertight, a moment of comic invention which would otherwise torpedo the narrative may not fit in the film. Equally Jackie Chan’s out-takes* impressed us and reminded us of the craft, choreography and danger that went into the whole affair. Anchorman’s best out-take does neither of these things, but it does remind us how lazy out-take endings can be. Because it is not even an out-take from its own film.
It is instead from Smokey And The Bandit II, one of the films which pioneered the out-take credit sequence. This was often due to the fact that Burt Reynolds, post Deliverance, vowed never to take acting too seriously again. Also because he fucked up a lot. So here, in amongst Ferrell thinking of other Valhalla-esque exclamations (By Odin’s Beard made it into the film) we get Burt and Sally Field corpsing through a scene. A fun little gag by Ferrell’s gang. Though if they really wanted to entertain they could have shown a shot of Smokey And The Bandit III: Smokey Is The Bandit – one of the bizarrest, uncalled for sequels ever.
*The ones where he hurt himself in the Hong Kong movies, rather than the more recent ones of him flubbing his English lines.