Monday, August 9, 2010

The Other Guys - Theatrical Review

Screened at the AMC 30 Theater at the Block  in Digital.

  Release Date: August 6, 2010

This movie is completely ridiculous, unbelievable in every way possible, and I love that about it. From minute one you know what you are in store for when you see super cop #1 Danson (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, The Rundown) launch his partner, super cop #2 Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson, Iron Man 2) in a car blasting both pistols towards a flaming building and a few drug dealers using the double decker bus it was stuck in as a launcher. That sets the tone for the rest of the film that actually gets more absurd despite the fact that no other action set piece even comes close to that. 

The movie's absurdity and laughs come from the relationship of "The Other Guys",  Allen Gamble (Will Ferrel, Anchor Man) and his partner, Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg, The Departed). Allen is an accountant for the police department whose idea of field work is hunting down white collar criminals which drives Terry crazy since all he can ever think about is getting out on the street and taking down criminals the old fashioned way. At the outset they are desk jockies relegated to doing the paper work for the true stars of the police force, Danson and Highsmith. They get their chance to shine soon enough though once a terrible (and hilarious) accident happens to the two super cops and leaves an open spot to any and all cops that want to title.

Super cops, Jackson and Johnson

Terry sees this as an opportunity to get out of his rut and wants to get out there and get to business. Allen on the other hand is quite happy being behind the desk and is unwilling to go along. So after a rather long and completely absurd (you will be seeing that word a lot in reference to this film) argument on how a tuna can kill a lion, Terry gets Allen out of the office and out to try to prove themselves. They soon find that they are vying for the top spot against two rival cops (Rob Riggle, Marlon Wayans Jr.) and that the rest of the department shoots them down at every turn. Terry and Allen must then take matters into their own hands and follow their leads no matter where they take them.

Your level enjoyment will vary depending on whether or not you, A: Like Will Ferrel movies and B: Don't give a dam if that movie has no real plot. There is a story driving the characters along but it is more of a means to an end to get these guys into absurd situations. Take for instance the two of them must go to Allen's house to look over "evidence", but we never actually see them work on any evidence. Instead we are treated to the lovely Eva Mendes (Hitch) who plays Allen's ridiculously gorgeous wife and how far Terry's jaw can drop at the wonder of how this is possible. Allen treats his wife terribly and she takes it all with a smile which completely baffles Terry, but his lame attempts to get her to notice him that run through the entire film are hilarious.

Wahlberg and Ferrel on the job

Speaking of running gags, this movie is chock full of them. From a cocaine covered hybrid car, to Allen's constant wife badgering and his shady past, to what kind of music to play in the heat of action, to a group of homeless people that like to use Allen's car as a sex shack and finally how their police captain played by Michael Keaton (Um....Batman?) who constantly quotes TLC songs without every knowing it. However, there were a couple of running jokes and story arcs that didn't work out so well...

Terry's history with his ex-girlfriend was amusing but never really clicked, it felt more like a way to give that character something to relate to Allen with. Also, the plot while not really being that important, was still a real bore. Bad investors being chased by nameless/faceless bad guys to get their money back? It wouldn't be so bad if it was more in the background than it is now. Another misstep is the false lead up to what you will think is the big ending shootout, when there is actually another 20 minutes of movie left after that shootout. Plus, the investor's intentions never really seem clear which isn't really a big deal, but distracting none-the-less. Lastly, some of the crude humor between Ferrel & Mendes regarding their sexual practices seemed pretty lazy.

 A very unlikely couple

All the actors though seem to be having a great time. Wahlberg is playing off and riffing on his previous roles with Ferrel doing his usual spontaneous craziness. Both of them work well together in an opposites attract sort of way. It was nice to see Michael Keaton back on the big screen again, although he doesn't seem to have changed one bit from the last time I saw him. Jackson and Johnson also chew up the scenery during their few moments on screen.

Those minor problems aside, this movie is tons of fun and pretty much a laugh a minute. If you are looking for a crazy, absurd movie that takes plenty of cop cliches and turns them on their head (which another previously reviewed movie failed at miserably, see my "Cop Out" review) and will make you laugh till your side could do a lot worse. In a summer with very few truly funny films, this is a high point and a good time at the movies if you give it a chance which I suggest you do. So....



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