The Other Guys

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B-

I am forever giving Will Ferrell second chances, third chances and now a fourth. Why? Three reasons: Old School, Anchorman and Stranger than Fiction. He’s charming in an oddball sort of way, and you kind of just want to see more of him. Problem is, he makes more duds than hits. Kicking & Screaming (which defiled the namesake of one my all-time favorite movies), Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory, Semi-Pro — I’ll stop there — are not good movies. Ferrell is like The Smashing Pumpkins — sure they haven’t made a good record in a long, long time, but the first couple were so damn good, you keep tuning in, hoping they do it again.

The Other Guys re-teams director Adam McKay with his buddy Will Ferrell for the fourth time. Although Step Brothers had its moments, the duo has yet to live up to their first success — Anchorman. Allen (Will Ferrell) and Terry (Mark Wahlberg) are a pair of New York City detectives whose dishonorable pasts have fastened them to desk jobs. Allen, a trained accountant, was transferred from forensic accounting and is more than pleased to be sifting through numbers and stacks of paper. Terry, on the other hand, needs action. Chomping at the bit, he forcefully pressures Allen to take a case in the “real world” when resident “heroes,” P.K. Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Christopher Danson (Dwayne Johnson), are incapacitated.

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The rest of the movie is two hapless detectives slowly, and I mean slowly, piecing together one of the most boring crimes ever put to screen. This is where The Other Guys falls apart. It’s way too long, and there isn’t enough action. The first 45 minutes are a joy. There’s a fantastic chemistry between Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, the jokes are original and hilarious, the dialogue feels improvised and fresh and the action is over-the-top and fun. After that, it comes unglued. The crime is white-collar, i.e., excruciatingly boring. Sure it’s topical, and I admire them for trying to tie in the current socioeconomic climate, but it doesn’t work within the context of this parody.

If they could have wrapped this comedy around a crime that was interesting as well as relevant, the movie would have been entertaining from beginning to end. As it is, there are too many scenes of expository dialogue spattered throughout the heart of the movie.

The upside is that the writers know satire and they take every cop movie cliché in the book and flip it on its head. The requisite, ‘we’re off the case, let’s get shit-canned at a bar’ montage is taken to a whole new level with some impressive CGI. The movie is impeccably cast, from Michael Keaton as the hard-yelling but sincere chief of police to Steve Coogan as a Madoff-like financier.

75% of the jokes land and we learn a couple things too. 1. Anne Heche isn’t dead. 2. Michael Keaton is getting old. Which subsequently means I am getting old too. Bummer. Hey, we all can’t stay Mr. Mom forever.

For The Other Guys, I recommend waiting for DVD. The action sequences aren’t spectacular enough that you need to see them on the big screen, and as a bonus you can make yourself some popcorn during the boring middle bits.

tags: adam mckay, mark wahlberg, the other guys, will ferrell

  • http://andrewstamm.com Andrew

    I had hoped Stranger Than Fiction was going to signal a new direction for Will Ferrell… that’s one of my favorite movies but sadly it doesn’t appear he has any interest in going in that direction again

  • http://nerdynothings.com Noah Nickels

    I completely agree, that is a fantastic movie and he is so good in it. I hear rumblings that he’s been approached for another dramedy, so we’ll see.

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