The Other Guys is a 2010 action-comedy crime satire directed and co-written by Adam McKay. The movie is the fourth collaboration between Ferrell and McKay: Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers.
We are quickly introduced to Detectives Danson ( played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and Highsmith ( played by Samuel L. Jackson) who are New York’s supercops that fight the good fight in the streets, leaving all the resulting paperwork for the ‘other guys’ at the office to fill out, such as forensic account Detective Allen Gamble ( played Will Ferrell) and his partner Detective Terry Hoitz ( played by Mark Wahlberg). Allen’s investigation into a scaffolding permit violation soon leads to bigger and better things, and when an opportunity arises for Hoitz to get back onto the streets, he drags his office-bound partner into action, where wackiness ensues.
The Other Guys lampoons the buddy-cop genre (much more successfully than the recent movie Cop Out), with references to mainly the Lethal Weapon series, which is of course the most influential of their kind.
This movie was surprisingly funny! Unlike other Will Ferrell vehicles as mentioned above, this movie is much more accessible as it is grounded in a genre that we have grown up with since the early 80’s. The ridiculousness of the Buddy-Cop movie is shown through the exploits of Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s jock-like super-cops, who introduce the movie with an incredible chase sequence with mass structural damage, letting ‘the other guys’ in the office sort out the paperwork. I remember studying Torts law and thinking what would happen if I applied the test of damages to the damage caused throughout the original Die Hard?
The movie has a great cast of actors, who all play their absurdest comedic parts extremely straight. Mark Wahlberg is brilliant, showing his incredulous anger, frustration and impatience. Ferrell hits it again with his wide-eyed naivety, and sweet innocence.
The jokes are quickly established, and each ‘bit’ plays out repetitively throughout the movie, a bit like an episode of an English skit show such as Little Britain, where you wait for the punch-line / catch-phrase; For example Ferrell’s character attracts ridiculously good looking women throughout, and Michael Keaton’s captain unknowingly references song titles from TLC.
The movie is at its best when it is lampooning the buddy-cop genre, pointing out their loop-halls and ridiculousness, all the time referencing them as well: there are plenty of introspective scenes shared by the two complete with saxophone wailing in the background, and even an extravagant, CG assisted binge-drinking-bonding scene . It however becomes surprisingly boring when the movie blossoms into it’s action scenes in the third act, as we have seen it so many times before. A montage of dry, police procedural paperwork would have been more fitting.
The movie’s main plot involves white-collar corporate embezzlement (specifically the white collar crime known as the Ponzi Scheme), and it is amazing to see the credit sequence at film’s end which shows the break-down of Ceo’s wages compared to their employees, and government bail-outs of large companies. It is shocking to see the statistics, but also surprising that the theme was obviously taken so seriously by the film makers delivering such a ridiculously fun comedy. This is a community-conscience sure-fire way of getting the masses to think more about societies’ more unpleasant goings-on.
The Other Guys is much more accessible than McKay’s previous efforts. A surprisingly funny and ridiculous movie which shows how well comedy works with good actors who are not necessarily known for their comedic skills. I was pleasantly surprised to see the older crowd around me with glasses of champagne laughing along with the ridiculous going-ons..
3.5 wooden guns OUT OF 5
Luke McWilliams October 2010