The Other Guys
Starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, and Michael Keaton
Directed by Adam McKay (Talladega Nights)
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language, violence and some drug material
Appropriate for ages 13+
When the two most famous cops in New York City accidentally die in one of the most hysterical death sequences I can remember, a mismatched pair of detectives attempt step up and take their place. Both cops seem to be bad at their jobs but together they try to take down one of the largest financial schemes the city has ever seen.
Recently Kevin Smith attempted the buddy cop comedy with Cop Out and it misfired completely. One of the reasons that was such a dud was that not only were the cops completely aloof, so was the case. What helps this buddy film to top the other is that while the cops are both idiots, the case is at least real, although complicated enough that you know that they are getting lucky more than they are intelligently solving it.
Unlike many of Adam McKay’s previous films, where I felt that much of the comedy came from improvisation on set, this one actually felt like it came from the page, largely because Ferrell is the only actor capable of bringing the big time improv. Wahlberg’s character is a little dry and they could have had so much more fun with his troubling backstory, but Ferrell once again creates another memorable, quotable character whose jokes hit most of the time. The rest of the cast is hit and miss although the opening bit with Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson is a laugh riot. Still without Farrell – this film would have been nothing. He is irreplaceable and owns every bit of screen time he has.
The biggest problems I had with the picture were all of the inconsistencies and lame jokes taken too far throughout. For instance, I liked that hot women everywhere are attracted to Ferrell, but in one scene he has to visit an ex-girlfriend, yet in a back story he explains he met his wife while in a situation that would kill any chance of having that ex-girlfriend. There are many more of those little annoyances that I guess I shouldn’t let bother me, but I like my pieces of the puzzle to fit. Also, there are many jokes such as the captain quoting TLC songs without knowing it, Ferrell carrying a wooden gun and Wahlberg lusting after Ferrell’s wife that are funny one, maybe two times, and misses the next ten. These jokes might have made them laugh on set quite a bit, but as a member of the audience I felt they were a huge stretch.
But the litmus test of “did I laugh a lot” passed with flying colors, mostly due to the genius that is Will Ferrell. When he picks the right project, and for him this was the right project, he proves why he is considered to be one of the funniest men alive. B+