Since I single-handedly failed to review all of this year’s blockbusters, I decided that instead of trying to catch up on all of them, I’d pick and choose a select few to talk about. One of those is entitled The Other Guys and stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Let’s talk about it, shall we?
The Other Guys (2010)
Even before I sat down to watch The Other Guys, I’d felt like I’d seen it before. The buddy-cop dynamic has been exploited in almost every single way ranging from the time-tested formula of a chalk and cheese pairing (Riggs and Murtaugh from the Lethal Weapon series spring to mind), to the 80’s anomaly of teaming Tom Hanks with a big, slobbering dog (Google it if you simply need to find out). Plus, what I suspected to be the funniest moments were already in the trailer, negating any surprise and/or laughs and thoroughly undermining the entire point of trailers.
“You have the right to remain silent… but I want to hear you scream!”
The basic story is that Det. Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Det. Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) are “the other guys” behind the superstar cop team of Danson (Dwayne Johnson) and Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson). Whilst Danson and Highsmith are off doing exciting, death-defying stuff, Gamble and Hoitz are doing their tedious paperwork. However, when The Rock and Mace Windu inexplicably jump off a roof to their deaths, it’s Gamble and Hoitz who step up to the challenge of filling their shoes. The plot smacks of pure functionality. It’s not here to do something clever or intriguing, it’s here to give us big action sequences and chances to see our two leads bicker with each other. Will Ferrell is on automatic pilot through most of the runtime, although I do find the guy funny when he’s being earnest and there were a few moments that made me smile. The funnier of the two is Mark Wahlberg, who I’ll maintain is a better comedian than he is a serious actor, but again it was only his past glory as the foul-mouthed Dignan from The Departed that made me smile occasionally.
The “corporate corruption” angle, mostly brought in by Steve Coogan’s oily, rich Brit Sir David Ershon is ridiculous, especially considering that the film seems to want you to take that aspect seriously- as proven by a helpful and not-at-all out of place series of diagrams explaining big business corruption that plays through the end credits. Fun With Dick and Jane tried to pull a similar trick and when was the last time you heard about that film being talked about on the street? Although, at least it was more justified than it is in The Other Guys, as the plot had vague things to do with the collapse of Enron n’ shit like that.
I wanted some decent jokes out of The Other Guys. but it ultimately failed to deliver. If you like comedy as broad as it comes, then look no further than The Other Guys. It’s like every joke is designed to be funny to a 12 year old boy with no thought for anyone else. Most of the time, the film just falls back on popular culture references to pad out the weak-as-fuck plot. Haven’t heard enough Star Wars references yet, despite the fact that it seems every fucking TV show and film has to mention Lucas’ accidental genius trilogy by law? The Other Guys has one. Want to hear the name of a popular video game series used as a punchline? The Other Guys will mention Grand Theft Auto. The absolute pinnacle of this pile of poo though, is the fact that Michael Keaton’s character, supposedly unwittingly, keeps quoting TLC song titles. Jesus, modern comedy is so fucking lazy all you have to do to get a laugh is mention something that people remember and they’ll bark and clap like over-enthusiastic seals.
“If we were in the wild, I would attack you. Even if you weren’t in my food chain, I would go out of my way to attack you. If I were a lion and you were a tuna, I would swim out in the middle of the ocean and freakin’ eat you!”
The Other Guys is a tough one. I didn’t find it funny as such, but I was kept entertained until the patronising pie charts n’ piss at the end. I suppose The Other Guys is a safe film- some toss that’s thrown together with a surprisingly good cast just to keep the big movie bean-counters happy. If you can sit there and enjoy a film that doesn’t even pretend to be about anything else but making your stylish wallet/purse that little bit lighter, then by all means see it. If not, join me and we’ll gather outside the studios and picket. All together now- “MUST TRY HARDER! MUST TRY HARDER!”