Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Review #1,337: 'The Other Guys' (2010)

The comedy pairing of writer and director Adam McKay and actor Will Ferrell turned their attention towards the buddy action movie for their fourth feature, The Other Guys. Their familiar see-what-sticks attitude and encouragement of improvisation often produces mixed to plain bad results (see Talladega Nights: The Story of Ricky Bobby), but every now and then gold can be struck, with the huge following that was generated in the wake of cult favourite Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy being the most obvious example. The Other Guys falls easily into the second category, with the sheer volume of belly laughs inspired by a fast-paced first hour going some way to gloss over the disappointment of the stretched-out, action-heavy final 50 minutes.

The NYPD prides itself on its two superstar cops, Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Danson (Dwayne Johnson), who regularly cause millions of dollars worth of damages on the city streets while chasing down low-level criminals, but doing so in style. When their own arrogance and plain stupidity puts them out of action, partners Gamble (Ferrell) and Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), one a goofy desk jockey and the other a neurotic short-fuse (I'm sure you can guess which is which) must step up to keep the city safe. While investigating a scaffolding permit violation by billionaire businessman Sir David Ershon (Steve Coogan), the pair stumble upon a conspiracy involving mass fraud that goes all the way to the very top. They are met with resistance by a group of heavies led by Australian Roger Wesley (Ray Stevenson), and from their very own bosses and co-workers, but must get past their own personality clashes to bring the culprit to justice.

It's a shame that The Other Guys runs out of steam long before the closing credits, as there is real chemistry between the two leads. The film eventually falls back on a montage of shoot-outs and car chases to become the very thing it started out satirising, but Ferrell and Wahlberg have fun while it lasts. Wahlberg makes for a hilarious straight-man and the perfect foil for Ferrell to bounce his goofball ad-libs off, before the latter turns up the weirdness and decibel levels up to intolerable levels. The big joke is that Gamble is incredibly plain, but inexplicably attracts gorgeous women, including his 'bland' wife played by Eva Mendes. Hoitz's reaction to meeting the woman his partner describes as a 'big old gal' provides the film's funniest moment. There's great support from Michael Keaton, who gets to flex his comedy muscles after a long stint out of the game, but the meathead rival partners played by Damon Wayans Jr. and Rob Riggle are irritating from the get-go. A mixed bag for sure, but one of the better efforts from Ferrell and his posse.

Directed by: Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Ray Stevenson, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson
Country: USA

Rating: ***

Tom Gillespie

The Other Guys (2010) on IMDb

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