The Other Guys is the latest Adam McKay/Will Ferrell film to hit theatres. McKay has directed Ferrell in a number of films, including Step Brothers, Anchorman and Talladega Night. With a pretty impressive list of films behind them, the director/actor duo has a lot to live up to.
Taking the shape of a buddy cop film, The Other Guys also stars Mark Wahlberg, Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson. Set to take the title of ‘funniest film of the summer’ away from Get Him To The Greek, The Other Guys is hoping to provide side side splitting laughs and enough laugh out loud humor to have you in tears. So, does the film live up the the hype, or is it just another over ambitious comedy?
The film is a buddy cop film at its core. It tells the story of two overlooked detectives. Detective Allen Gamble who at the age of 11 audited his parents and Detective Terry Hoitz who finds himself stuck behind a desk for accidentally shooting Derek Jeter. The two are as mismatched as they come yet they are forced to work together.
While Gamble is perfectly fine doing forensic accounting, Hoitz is eager to get out on the streets and do real police work. They both come complete with their own backstory as well. Allen used to be a pimp in college and Terry apparently took ballet just so he could mock the ‘sissies’. The two don’t like each other and they constantly bicker. Terry even goes as far as to tell Allen the following:
“No, I don’t like you. I think your a fake cop. The sound of your piss hitting the urinal, it sounds feminine. If you were in the wild, I would attack you, even if you weren’t in my food chain I would go out of my way to attack you. If I were a lion and you were a tuna, I would swim out in the middle of the ocean and freaking eat you and then I’d bang your tuna girlfriend.”
Enter Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Danson (Dwayne Johnson). Highsmith and Danson are another pair of cops in the station and are the current hotshots in town. Gamble and Hoitz look up to and admire Highsmith and Danson. Hoping to prove themselves to be as worthy as Highsmith and Danson, Hoitz desperately wants a big case to crack. Thanks to Gamble, he gets his wish. A paper trail that Gamble picks up on leads the duo to a heavy duty crime and it is here that the adventure begins.
From this point on you can essentially discount the plot. Some fraud, wall street con artists and other financial shenanigans ensue but it never really fits together or makes a whole lot of sense. As the plot progresses, not only does it become more convoluted but the jokes appear less frequently. You’d be foolish to walk into this film thinking you’d get an engaging plot, it’s just a shame that it does clash with the humour a bit.
Luckily, everyone in the cast is firing on all cylinders. Ferrell and Wahlberg as the two leads exude great chemistry. They find a comedic common ground that works very well. Ferrell plays the same oddball goof he usually plays and as always, it turns out to be quite entertaining. As expected, he steals the show and just about everything he says is funny.
Luckily Ferrell doesn’t hog the spotlight and he gives Wahlberg ample time to shine. Wahlberg is fairly adequate in the role and while he doesn’t play into the humor as much as Ferrell, he creates a good character for Ferrell to feed off of. The PG-13 rating does restrict him a bit and perhaps if the film took the R route, Wahlberg could have done a bit more with his cop character, perhaps something like he did in The Departed.
Jackson and Johnson are also pretty funny in their limited screen time. Jackson is clearly self parodying himself a la Snakes on a Plane but he’s funny as hell. He does his usual screaming and over the top deal but it’s very funny. Also worth mentioning is Michael Keaton in the role of the police chief. He’s takes a surprisingly comedic turn and is genuinely funny at parts.
McKay directs the film in an appropriate manner and never dwells too long on one joke or gag. He keeps things moving and although the film loses some steam towards the end, we never feel bored. Near the end, the runtime stretches on for a bit too long but McKay keeps things going. A bit tighter editing and a shorter runtime could have benefited the film but it’s not a major problem.
The fittingly absurd humour found here will feel familiar to Ferrell fans. If you enjoyed Step Brothers or Anchorman, you’ll surely enjoy this. At a couple points McKay throws in some humour that’s a bit too out there but it never becomes that obtrusive. The comedy is a bit of a mixed bag since some gags fall flat but there’s is more than enough gags that work to craft a pretty funny film.
A couple of the lines are down right hilarious and there are a few that are destined to be quoted endlessly. Despite the fact that the film is making fun of all the buddy cop conventions out there, it never feels too generic. There’s a certain fresh feel to everything.
McKay stages all the action scenes so that they come off as over the top but he’s clearly mocking certain action films. As ridiculous as some of it is, the film realizes that it shouldn’t be taken seriously and it never pretends to be a serious action film. That being said, some of the action scenes look pretty good and it would even make Mr.Bruckheimer himself quite proud.
The final stretch of the film has the most action in it and some of the humor actually gets lost which results in some scenes that feel a bit too long. As the film pushes towards the finish line and goes deeper into the plot, you may feel yourself slowly losing interest as the plot is complete throwaway. Luckily Ferrell is funny enough that he should be able to keep your attention.
At the end of it all, The Other Guys is an odd and at times even crazy film, but for the most part, it’s consistently funny. There are a ton of laughs to be had and there aren’t many dull moments. A few gags don’t quite hit the mark and some of it feels a bit too silly but on the whole, it’s a fairly satisfying film.
If you’re a Will Ferrell fan or just a fan of comedy in general, you’re almost guaranteed to enjoy this. The McKay/Ferrell duo has struck gold again. The Other Guys is a hilarious take on the buddy cop genre and despite the few flaws it does have, it’s a film that will surely leave your jaw a bit sore. Sure it’s a bit dumb at times but what Will Ferrell movie isn’t?
Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell have excellent chemistry, and provide for a lot of funny moments, but a poorly written plot and some forced jokes make The Other Guys only a good, not great comedy.