August 6, 2010
Review - " The Other Guys " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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The Other Guys
Directed by: Adam McKay
starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton,
Ray Stevenson, Steve Coogan, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson.
You might expect that this action, adventure-comedy flick “The Other
Guys” will just give the audience another buddy-cop exhausting plot.
No, it did not it many scenes. Actually, the beginning was really funny
and entertaining. Unexpectedly, Mark Wahlberg was on top of his
game and made a really great performance considering the genre of
the motion picture; totally unusual for someone who played serious
roles in “The Departed” and “Lovely Bones”. Eva Mendes also did a
great job and almost surpassed his leading men’s comedy.
Without giving away too many surprises – there are few up this movie’s
sleeve that haven't been ruined by reviews or added Internet features
– an unaccredited narrator, Ice-T of "Law and Order: SVU" fame,
providing the oh-so-aware narration, tells us about the gritty streets of
New York City and how they are run by super police force duo
Highsmith and Danson (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson).
The two rock-star-like Manhattan detectives strain the city's coffers on
the way to minor busts. Yet Highsmith and Danson are hailed as civic
Other cops in the station house are merely fans, the help or
wannabes. Ferrell and Wahlberg play two of them, Allen Gamble and
Terry Hoitz. Gamble (Ferrell) has skills as a forensic accountant but no
on-the-beat experience. To fuming partner Hoitz (Wahlberg), Gamble's
not the real deal — just a breathing, humming, galling sign of how far
he's fallen. Hoitz was on the path to detective when he made a monumental error. Ever since, he's been known around the
squad room, and the city, as the Yankee Clipper. Boston fans will particularly like this part.
When Highsmith and Danson are put into 'early retirement', it's time for odd couple partners Det. Holtz and Gamble (Mark
Walhberg doing some of his best work since The Departed and Will Farrell surpressing his man-child with a more
straight-laced approach) to step up to the plate and protect the city from white collar criminal, Wall Street sleaze Ernson
(Steve Coogan doing what he does best by annoying people with his bad decisions).
Director Adam McKay, with the script from
himself and sketch comic vet Chris Henchy,
and all of its cast's improv humor works so
well this time. The characters and their terrible
behavior work together, Wahlberg and Farrell
bring a high level energy with an all-star
supporting cast that includes Micheal Keaton,
Eva Mendes, Ray Stevenson, Lindsay Sloane,
Damon Waynes Jr., Rob Riggle, and of course
Jackson/Johnson duo. Everyone seems to be
having a fun time playing with action and
comedy that is set in front of them.
The gags and scenes that work the most
range from a hilarious boozing bar montage,
Wahlberg shooting a famous somebody, a car
chase that involves every sort of world gangster, and Keaton's subconscious quoting of hip-hop group TLC. It's great to see
Keaton playing it for laughs again, not since Night Shift and Beetlejuice has he had the chance to be this funny and
This generation's Raquel Welch, Eva Mendes, is wonderful to gaze upon and terrifically game as Gamble's "ball and chain."
Surprisingly, the jokes about how a guy like Gamble landed an ER doc like Sheila never run out of breath. Indeed,
boneheaded machismo and guy anxiety fill the tank of this lunatic ride. There is so much fast and furious pleasure in the
gags that the occasional misfires can be forgiven.
At times, there's an "everything but the
kitchen sink" quality to the joke grab. But it
works. When Gamble and Hoitz go out for a
night of drinking, the film shifts to a visually
ludicrous Madison Avenue aesthetic. And
Gamble's backstory confession is so patently
absurd, it bumps the film into classic comedy
The movie's final credits work like an
attractive Powerpoint presentation of the
failed economics of a go-go, take-take
market in which the citizenry, the working
stiffs with vulnerable pensions and humble
dreams, bailed out the overcompensated
and underregulated. (They're worth staying
for.) The Other Guys gives us what we like in
a summer movie and let's us go home with a
few good one liners to remember it by.