“War on Everyone” is writer/director John Michael McDonagh’s second film involving politically incorrect and raucous law enforcement agents. If this could become some kind of series … sign me up!
The beer-guzzling, coke-snorting duo of officers Terry (Alexander Skarsgård) and Bob (Michael Peña) wheel around Albuquerque framing perps and taking names. Their genius lies in getting away with the unethical deeds they so fondly commit. The stumbling blocks come from their frequent ineptitude and inflated sense of power. The team finally meets something resembling their match when they try ripping off a strip-club manager whose power extends far deeper than anticipated.
I watched the ’80s classic “48 HRS” a few months ago and have to imagine that the Skarsgård-Peña pairing has to be somewhat akin to the sensation of watching Nolte-Murphy. The two actors always match each other in self-deprecation and pithy dialogue, lighting up the screen at every opportunity. McDonagh utilizes their commitment to wonderful effect in “War on Everyone” as he toes the line on some touchy subject matter without ever overstepping the boundaries. There’s a sense in a lot of raunchy comedies these days that these lines only exist for their crossing, irregardless of who gets hurt by doing so. McDonagh makes this off-color humor work with in the parameters established for his irreverent characters, and the taboos bend without breaking. B+ /