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Ron Burgundy's fans can't be blamed for watching the trailer for The Big Short, which premiered online this morning, and waiting for the big laughs. It's right there in the "directed by" tag. The Big Short is directed by Adam McKay, a.k.a. Will Ferrell's production partner and go-to director for all things hilariously sophomoric. McKay was behind the camera for both Anchorman movies, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys. He’s also the brains behind the game-changing "The Landlord" video, which launched Ferrell and McKay's now-massive Funny or Die brand.
The Big Short, though, isn't another goofy man-child story. The trailer has a few laughs, sure, but they’re more of the Moneyball occasional-chuckles-amidst-the-seriousness than of the "Milk was a bad choice!" kind. It's no wonder why McKay was able to assemble a loaded cast that includes Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, and Ryan Gosling alongside McKay's old pal Steve "Brick Tamland" Carell. The film’s subject matter surely didn't hurt, either. Based on non-fiction writer Michael Lewis' explosive book, The Big Short is an extremely timely dramatization of the 2007-2010 economic collapse and how a few pencil-pushers helped to bring down the rich scoundrels who caused our country’s financial decimation.
But anyone who knows a bit about Adam McKay knows that he’s always been socially conscious, and has always been eager to straighten up his movies. Just go back and watch The Other Guys again and stick through its end credits, in which McKay cleverly and unexpectedly laid out the details on how the economic fall-out happened, statistic by soul-crushing statistic. You can now consider those credits to be McKay’s initial dry run before the full-on The Big Short salvo.
The Big Short will open limited on December 11 before expanding nationwide on December 23. Which means that, indeed, Adam McKay is about to become a key player in all of the about-to-be-nonstop Academy Awards chatter. Not bad for the guy who once gave the world this: