Anchorman is one of my favourite movies. There’s just something about it that’s so ridiculous and over the top that it’s perfect. I mean the part where all the different news teams fight in an alley is cinema gold! All in all, fans of Anchorman had much to look forward to in 2013–the sequel to the film was announced and Ron Burgundy wrote a book! Well, according to critics and fans alike, the second film didn’t go over all that well and–after I raised my hopes that the book wouldn’t let me down–I’m sorry to say that it did. Let Me Off At The Top: My Classy Life and Other Musings was a huge disappointment, and below, I’ll tell you why.
Let Me Off At The Top is the memoirs of the number one news anchor in America: Ron Burgundy. He writes about his humble beginnings in an Iowa coal mining town through his whirl-wind career as the top anchorman ever.
It’s hard to tell you about the author of this piece. It’s a book written as a memoir by a fictional character from a movie. I don’t know if Will Ferrell (who played Ron Burgundy in the film) wrote it himself as he pretended to be Ron Burgundy or if it was a ghost writer pretending to be Will Ferrell as he pretended to be Ron Burgundy! For lack of a better way to say it, I’ll just refer to the author as Burgundy from this point out.
So, as stated before, this book is a memoir written by Burgundy and it’s all about his life (although most of the time it’s so off topic that Burgundy himself plays very little into it at all). After about the first chapter, Burgundy’s writing voice comes off as nothing but arrogant and annoying. And (if we’re going to be honest) if the movie Anchorman had been any longer than it was, he probably would have come off arrogant and annoying there too, but the movie was just enough of him and his news team (of which he has the highest respect for but hardly mentions at all in his memoirs) so to not become overbearing. In the book, it was all him. It was obnoxious to begin with but almost unbearable after about half the book. Everything that made him charming in the movie is forced and awkward in the book and just not fun to read. There’s no humour because it’s so forced–this book was about as natural as the polyesters that make up Burgundy’s suits.
I had such high hopes for this book but unfortunately, it fell short. It fell way short. Burgundy comes off charmingly stupid in the film, but in the book, he quickly becomes the worst person to ever have written a book (and yes, saying that a fictional character wrote this book IS killing me!). There are some great one-liners that came off naturally in this unnatural/forced piece and they made me stop to think if they had been in the movie, but most of it was just mindless filler, unfunny nonsense, and just plain bad material. Honestly, there’s a whole ten pages on Ron Burgundy’s interpretation of the history of Mexico and it’s awful. It’s truly awful. If this book were a stand-up bit that Will Ferrell performed as Ron Burgundy, it might stand a chance. But as a book that you sit and read, well, let’s hope most people don’t waste their time.
My final thoughts on Let Me Off At The Top: My Classy Life and Other Musings are to save your money. If you’re a fan of the first Anchorman movie and want more Ron Burgundy I suppose you could risk it, but for the love of Odin’s raven, borrow it from a library and completely skip over the Mexican history chapter! Ron Burgundy, I’m afraid to say, has not followed his own motto and stayed classy.