REVIEW: The Other Guys

6 08 2010

Will Ferrell made a name for himself playing in the movie industry by playing some crazy larger-than-life characters, such as Buddy the Elf and Ron Burgundy. Recently, he has been tarnishing that name by playing Will Ferrell, or at least how we have come to perceive Will Ferrell: a lazy, pathetic, and fairly eccentric bum. After a series of unintentionally humorless flops, it’s hard to have confidence that “The Other Guys” could end the slump.

The movie isn’t great, certainly nowhere near the likes of “Elf” or “Anchorman,” but it’s a definite improvement from “Step Brothers” and “Land of the Lost.” The story and the characters still aren’t quite back in full force, yet there’s some comfort in seeing the return of a crucial ingredient – laughter.  Fairly often, a joke will fall flat or just not work quite right. But more often than not, they manage to work, and we laugh more than we wince.

This isn’t the movie to break Will Ferrell’s slump; however, it’s definitely a step in the right direction and hopefully the beginning of an upward trend. It definitely helps that he’s not playing some ridiculous moron but rather a regular Joe Schmoe moron, someone who might actually exist out there. While we’ve been there done that with Ferrell’s one-note comedy of bizarre characters, there’s something refreshing and, dare I say, exciting about watching him go off the beaten path for a while.

But there’s more to this movie than just reporting that Will Ferrell can be decent again. We can’t forget Mark Wahlberg, who plays a cop that is a complete polar opposite of his Staff Sgt. Dignam from “The Departed.”  While he got to play the ultimate hard Boston police officer in the 2006 Best Picture winner, he’s tackling a decidedly different role as Holtz, the paper-pushing officer stuck working with Ferrell’s pitiful Gamble.  Wahlberg has never been in a comedic movie before, yet it’s amazing how he blends right in as if we’ve been seeing him do these types of movies for years.  I won’t go as far as to call he and Farrell a new “odd couple” (a new favorite critical comparison), but they certainly do play off each other well throughout the movie.

It’s the two marquee names that carry the movie.  They don’t get any help from Eva Mendes, who plays Gamble’s smoking hot wife, or Steve Coogan, the Brit who plays the Wall Street scumbag who is meant to remind us of Bernie Madoff.  Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson, the Dignams so to speak of the movie, aren’t in the movie long enough to produce many laughs, and the ones that they do were ruined in the trailer.  There are some nice running jokes with Michael Keaton, the police chief who moonlights at Bed Bath and Beyond, that wind up being funny after a few tries.  But have no doubt about it – this is Mark Wahlberg’s movie and it is Will Ferrell’s movie, for better or for worse.  B- /

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8 responses

7 08 2010
Harry

Nice to hear, I was surprised at what I saw on the tomatometer. 80%, and a 78% from Top Critics. Obviously not the be all end all, (especially because so many of the critics pretty much said, this summer hasn’t been great for comedy, so this is better than everything else) but it’s nice to see that this turned out better than expected. I will say that I disagree with you about Step Brothers, that movie was hilarious for me, and most people I know tend to agree, even though it is admittedly an unfathomable premise.

7 08 2010
Marshall

I don’t hate “Step Brothers,” it just has not held up well on repeat viewings at all.

7 08 2010
Harry

That’s fair I guess, although I think the jokes have good everyday usage value.

7 08 2010
Harry

Oh and to add, I’m not sure most comedies are that great the 2nd time around.

7 08 2010
Marshall

I’ll challenge you there – I can name many just off the top of my head that I still love. The vast majority are entirely forgettable. But some, like “Step Brothers,” were pretty good the first time. The second viewing I just wondered what I saw in it before.

So I kind of see three types of comedies: ones that are old the first time, ones that are old after seeing again, and ones that don’t tire out quickly.

7 08 2010
cheneetot08

Great review.. Haven’t saw the movie but i’ve heard a lot of mix reviews.

9 08 2010
rtm

I just finished my review a couple hours ago scheduled for tomorrow. I agree with you, it’s pretty darn funny and I’m not even a fan of Will Ferrell generally. I laughed a lot from start to finish, but maybe ’cause I haven’t seen too many of Ferrell’s movies so the joke don’t sound ‘recycled’ to me. His banter with Wahlberg was fun to watch, I even think I don’t mind seeing this movie again (rare for Will Ferrell movies). I’m a fan of Michael Keaton, so it’s always great seeing him even in smaller roles.

9 08 2010
CMrok93

This, as well as Date Night, are my two favorite comedies of the year mostly because they stay funny, even though there is a bit too many explosions. Check out my review when you get a chance!

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