Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Other Guys

"I am a peacock and you have to let me fly"

This is without doubt one the funniest movies of the year. Will Ferrel can be a little hit or miss in my eyes, but this one is definitely a hit! The jokes are funny without crossing that fine line into ridiculous and Mark Wahlberg was the perfect choice to play the straight man of the story. At the time of writing, Rotten Tomatoes rates the movie at 76%

The story revolves around the downtrodden average cops Allen Gamble (Ferrel) and Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg) who are constantly marginalized and outshined by the other detectives in the squad, specifically Highsmith and Danson (played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson). Gamble is perfectly content to sit at his desk and file paperwork for the rest of his life, but Hoitz has dreams of something bigger, he wants to be out there on the street. The investigation of a simple violation involving construction permits gives Hoitz just the opportunity he's been waiting for, now all he has to do is convince Gamble to join him for the ride (easier said than done). This is where the movie really picks up and launches us into the main plot. Several car chases, gun fights and explosions later we arrive at a very satisfying conclusion.

Ferrel and Wahlberg work surprisingly well together. The comic timing is just as sharp as it was between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black. Which is to say that, even though on paper it seems like it shouldn't work, in practice it all comes together nicely. Credit has to go to the supporting cast though, especially Michael Keaton, who portrays Captain Gene Mauch. Keaton steals pretty much every scene he's in, especially when it is revealed that he moonlights in a slightly more conventional profession, but I don't want to spoil that one here, just wait and see. Eva Mendes is clearly having fun in the role of Gambles wife, much to Hoitz amazement, they riff on that gag at least a half dozen times within a five minute segment. Finally I want to mention Steve Coogan who plays David Ershon, one of the primary suspects in the case. Between Ferrel and Coogan the slapstick comedy is firing on all cylinders.

As I said, I felt that the jokes in this movie managed to maintain the laughs without delving into absurdity. This is something that I feel a lot of comedy flicks get wrong. In the effort to get a laugh they will take a joke too far and cross that line. The Other Guys is one of those few comedies that gets it right. Ferrel and Wahlberg play off each other perfectly, the supporting cast add to the laughs nicely and the slap stick comedy works really well. The car chase scenes were probably my favorite part of the movie, there's something very unique and special about a car chase involving a red Prius. Certainly the movie won't be winning any awards, but with a consensus of 76% on RT it was surprisingly well received by the critics. Overall, the movie is a lot of fun, and it will keep you laughing even after you've left the theater.

Final Verdict on The Other Guys:

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