Monday, October 04, 2010

The Other Guys

-Warning: Not Spoiler Free-

The buddy-cop genre has lent itself to not one but two spoof comedies this year. The first was Kevin Smith's Cop Out which was a more than amusing team out of straight-faced Bruce Willis versus loud and annoying Tracey Morgan, throw in Seann William Scott for a little while and you have a 4-Star comedy movie that, while not terribly original hits it's marks and is funny when it's supposed to be. The second movie, The Other Guys from the Anchorman/Stepbrothers team of director Adam McKay and star Will Ferrell on the other hand did not meet it marks and it lacked the humour of their other efforts by embracing gags that were just too... ...silly.

Basically The Other Guys is about the B-Team of cops in an N.Y.P.D. precinct. Will Ferrell plays Allen Gamble a forensic accountant who really shouldn't have a gun, is generally a "nice-guy", he sensibly drives a Prius and is inexplicably extremely attractive to women which has resulted in marriage to Eva Mendez. His partner, in stark contrast is detective Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), who is being disciplined for accidentally shooting a baseball star during an important game at Yankee Stadium. Much to Hoitz' chagrin, the duo are continually outshone by the precinct 'supercops', P.K. Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Christopher Danson (Dwane "The Rock" Johnson). When the supercops unfathomably take a flying leap off a 20 storey building, then Gamble and Hoitz just might have the chance to be the top dogs.

While Ferrell is an accomplished comedian whether on his own as he was on his Broadway show about George Bush or in an ensemble cast of comedians like in Anchorman and will usually get his laughs, but he needs to have a good role written for him and placed with people that he can be silly with on his level. People like John C. Reilly and Jon Heder fit this bill but people like Anna Friel and Woody Harrelson do not which is probably why Land of the Lost and Semi-Pro were such crap. I now think Mark Wahlberg should be added to that list. In The Departed, Wahlberg's unnecessarily foulmouthed and angry Sgt. Sean Dignam was as much comedy relief than anything and he got deservedly nominated for an Oscar, Golden Globe and a SAG award for it. During The Other Guys, he displayed much of that angry cop, frustrated with being teamed up with Ferell, who was basically a police accountant with a gun [a wooden gun], and had he been directed to maintain that throughout the entire movie it would have been awesome. Sadly, they gave him dum ass dialog about being a peacock and made him do ballet dancing.

Ferrell and Wahlberg sadly do not have as much of the charm and chemistry together that this kind of movie demands of it's leads and don't evoke the sense of "buddy cops" that Willis or Morgan did in Cop Out or Pegg and Frost in Hot Fuzz. The movie sadly does not take full advantage of the disparities between its lead characters often enough, and although the pace is excellent in the first half, it is not sustained and falls flat for this 20 minute over-long movie.

There are good bits, good enough to save this movie from a poor rating. Micheal Keaton's TLC quoting precinct Captain is sublimely comical. The "Pimp's Don't Cry" sequence is legendary. Sam Jackson and The Rock's satirical take on their own action-hero personas in the opening sequence and subsequent glorification by the public will be the most memorable element of this movie for years and would probably be enough to warrant their own prequel movie if only it wouldn't potentially be the most expensive comedy ever made. But the really good gags here would work just as well in McKay's humour anthology website as opposed to in what is designed as a cohesive movie.

The movie also has Steve Coogan, a token Waynes brother - Damon, Lt. Col. Rob Riggle USMC and Ray Stevenson with a dodgy accent.

Final Verdict: It has some truly hilarious moments that remind you of the McKay/Ferrell team's past glories but sadly this fails to rise to be counted with the best of them. Not as good a Kevin Smith's Cop Out and won't wrestle with MacGruber for the comedy crown of the year. Worth picking up on DVD if there's nothing else to see.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***

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