Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"The Other Guys" (2010)

Starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg and Steve Coogan
Written by Chris Henchy and Adam McKay
Directed by Adam McKay

The Other Guys (The Unrated Other Edition) [Blu-ray]Continuing their string of successful Will Ferrell comedy vehicles, Ferrell and McKay brought to the screen in 2010 "The Other Guys," a sort of buddy cop action-comedy spoof.  Ferrell is paired this time with Mark Wahlberg, and the two of them play third-stringer NYPD detectives Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz. 

Allen came up from being an accountant, always taking the safe route through everything that comes along.  Terry, on the other hand, was on the cusp of a promising career until he accidentally shot New York Yankees star player Derek Jeter just before a critical World Series game.  Now, they both work in the shadow of the city's two great hero cops, Chris Danson (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) and PK Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson).  But when Danson and Highsmith, in a fit of ultra-machismo, pitch themselves off the top of a building in pursuit of a suspect and wind up very, very dead, the city finds itself in need of new heroes.

Terry believes this is his and Allen's chance to shine, but Allen is more concerned with finding an arresting a businessman named David Ershon.  Allen charges that Ershon has not been applying for scaffolding permits for his various construction projects around the city.  Unfortunately, by arresting Ershon for this minor crime, Terry and Allen find themselves embroiled in a much larger conspiracy.  They soon discover that Ershon is involved in a scheme involving the Police Pension Fund, and that Ershon is actually in debt to a number of vicious criminals from across the globe.  As they get closer to the truth, they and their loved ones are put in more danger, and eventually they must go rogue and bring the villains to justice, even as they're hunted by their own fellow police officers.

"The Other Guys" is pretty dang funny.  Ferrell's calm, straight-laced Allen Gamble character is a bit of a change from his previous roles where he was often prone to loud, obnoxious outbursts.  He gets to do some of that here, but his character is based upon a repression due to his dark past as a pimp.  For much of the film, Ferrell mines comedy out of having calm, measured responses to the chaos that surrounds him. 

Wahlberg, on the other hand, gets to through out all kinds of weird rants as he tries to incite Ferrell's character to action.  Witness a scene where he likens himself to a lion, and Ferrell to a tuna.  Terry tells Allen that he'd swim out into the ocean and eat him, "...and then I'd bang your tuna girlfriend."  His delivery is perfect.  There are many other moments in the film which are just like this, and the chemistry between Ferrell and Wahlberg works quite well.  Wahlberg also gets to have fun with a recurring gag where he tries to win back a former girlfriend by performing ballet moves or showing a knowledge of modern art which he claims he learned to "make fun of the queer kids" when he was younger. 

The film is loaded with cameos, as well.  Ice-T narrates, Anne Heche appears as an evil businesswoman pulling Ershon's strings, Brooke Shields and Rosie Perez play themselves at a basketball game, Derek Jeter also appears as himself, shouting "You dick!" at Wahlberg. 

"The Other Guys" probably isn't as outright quotable as previous Ferrell/McKay collaborations, but it is still quite funny.  And the action sequences are surprisingly competent, as well.  There are a couple of chases and shootouts that are fun.  The opening car chase is a riot as Johnson and Jackson's characters cause millions of dollars in property damage while chasing down a couple of pot smokers is pretty badass, while still being hilarious.  The film doesn't sacrifice laughs for action or the other way around, striking a nice balance.

See Also
Step Brothers
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Wake Up Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie