Movie Review: The Other Guys

Films opening this week:
The Girl Who Played with Fire - Eastern Hills Dipson
The Killer Inside Me - Amherst Dipson
The Other Guys - Maple Ridge; Market Arcade; Elmwood, Transit, Galleria, Quaker, Hollywood Regals; Flix; Transit Drive-In
Step Up 3D - Maple Ridge; Market Arcade; Elmwood, Transit, Galleria, Quaker, Hollywood Regals; Flix

I've loathed the "full-blown" Will Ferrell over the past few years. He tends to regress into a large, blithering child. It used to work with small supporting roles or comic relief parts—as in Old School—but soon the joke wore thin. But then something happened a couple years ago with Step Brothers. He and his BFF, director, and production partner Adam McKay did the unthinkable—they scaled him back a bit and let his surrounding cast pick up some of the slack. Cut to The Other Guys, a film that, at least for the first two-thirds, is belly-laugh funny.

It’s interesting to note that Mark Wahlberg, lacking an impressive amount of pure acting talent, can be so fluid in overt comedy. In this film, he gets the job done. McKay and co-writer Chris Henchy make his Hoitz the funny man, while Ferrell’s Allen Gamble—bland, doltish, and ripe for ridicule—plays it straight.

Ferrell's  character hit rock bottom before finding the safest job he could imagine—forensic accountant—and Wahlberg’s accidental/on purpose firearm arm discharge has landed him in a desk job. Meanwhile,  super cops Highsmith and Danson (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson) are the badasses everyone, including Michael Keaton’s precinct captain, idolizes.the tables are turned when Gamble’s simple paper trail of one investment banker (Steve Coogan) uncovers the case of the decade.

They discover a massive cover-up, and the duo finally begins to prove themselves as real police officers—or at least as real as these two train wrecks can appear. The Other Guys tries hard to amp up the laughs by throwing as many character flaws and wacky pasts as possible, and this is both good and bad. Admittedly,I've rarely laughed so hard at the movies, but once the film moves into wrapping up loose ends in the story, the pace screeches to a halt.

Although, as in many Ferrell vehicles, the jokes begin to wear out at a certain point, there is still a lot left to discover, including the wonderfully shot conclusion to Jackson and Johnson’s arc. I don’t care what comes out in the next five months—the final scene with their two characters will likely be the funniest film sequence of the year.

I know the whole endeavor is meant to be a send-up of the genre, similar to Edgar Wright's Hot Fuzz, but even more car chases to cheesy soft rock like “Monday, Monday” would have been appreciated. That’s the stuff I came to see, and there is just enough to satisfy.

The Other Guys 7/10

[1] Will Ferrell, left, and Mark Wahlberg in Columbia Pictures' comedy "The Other Guys". Photo By: Macall Polay
[2] Samuel L. Jackson, left, and Dwayne Johnson in Columbia Pictures' comedy "The Other Guys," starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Photo By: Macall Polay

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