NYPD Detectives Christopher Danson and P.K. are the baddest and most beloved cops in New York City. They don't get tattoos - other men get tattoos of them. Two desks over and one back, sit Detectives Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz. You've seen them in the background of photos of Danson and Highsmith, out of focus and eyes closed. They're not heroes - they're the Other Guys. But every cop has his or her day and soon Gamble and Hoitz stumble into a seemingly innocuous case no other detective wants to touch that could turn into New York City's biggest crime. It's the opportunity of their lives, but do these guys have the right stuff? (from MovieWeb.com)
When it comes to the buddy cop movie, it's anything but an original concept as it's been done time and time again. Director Adam McKay, who's responsible for movies like Anchorman and Talladega Nights, helms his own take on the genre flick, using the same style of humor as his previous films to bring a new take on the concept. Unfortunately, everything that plagued his previous films -- especially language and crude humor -- is what dogs his latest movie, The Other Guys.
The Other Guys takes place in New York City, and that's about the extent of the realism McKay and Ferrell bring to the film. Mark Wahlberg stars as a detective named Terry Hoitz who's been forced to take a desk job due to a serious mistake he made out in the field several years prior. His partner is Ferrell's Allen Gamble, a desk cop who lives for control and enjoys playing it safe. Hoitz is bitter about his position and resents Gamble for being content with staying in the office. When the police force needs a couple of cops to step things up, Terry pushes for him and Allen to fill the void. Wahlberg and Ferrell are a great pair here, especially as Ferrell tones down his usual center-of-attention approach to his roles to serve as a glasses-wearing, number-crunching stick-in-the-mud. It's refreshing to see Ferrell step a little bit out of his comfort zone to create a comedic character that isn't entirely a raging egomaniac (although he manage to work in a moment or two). Allen Gamble tends to fall somewhere between Buddy The Elf and maybe Ricky Bobby. Wahlberg spends most of his time freaking out in frustration about his position, and he does well standing up to Ferrell's schtick. It's also great seeing Michael Keaton step out in a comedy role again, playing the department's captain, Gene. Keaton sort of performs a bit of the Ed Harken character from Anchorman (even having a problem with his son, like Harken did), but performs it with the comedic chops that Keaton has always excelled at (his standout sequence takes place inside a Bed, Bath & Beyond). The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson make brief appearances as the ideal cops on the force (The Rock actually filled a similar position in 2008's Get Smart) and are fun to watch in the little time on screen they're given.
Nothing is serious (or sacred) in The Other Guys, and the film constantly reminds the viewer that nothing is being taken too seriously. Random humor is king here, too, which is the kind of brand of humor that McKay and Ferrell have subscribed to together in the past. Even when things seem like they might (or should) get serious, McKay keeps it really light, and usually lets a loudmouthed Will Ferrell step in to keep things from settling in too much. Even as Wahlberg plays Hoitz more serious or angry at times, he'll often spout completely random (or crude) insults at his partner to keep the audience from taking him too seriously. But anyone who's familiar with McKay's format should know what to expect from his movies. Crude humor abounds -- almost as ridiculously as last week's Dinner For Schmucks, but with considerably more language thrown into the mix. If sexual humor isn't being spewed forth, then it's most likely the "s" word, and probably from Wahlberg, as over 40 uses of the word appear in this film. Among those is an assortment of other profanities, with the appearance of a sort of distorted "mother f..." in a rap song heard over a bar scene drinking montage. There's also an implied sex scene between a man and his wife (we see them start to disrobe and kiss), and a decent amount of comedic violence (the latter of which includes several men jumping to their deaths on the street below - and we see the non-gory impacts, car chases and crashes, people being shot at and a few actually getting shot, etc).
The comedic, silly tone of The Other Guys (although grounded in a more gritty cop movie setting visually - as opposed to the more overly colorful setting of Anchorman) is the film's strength, but also its weakness. Because it doesn't take things too seriously, the film has no boundaries and often goes pretty far over the top. Aside from having some characters meet their demise in a surprising way that may remind some viewers of an out-of-nowhere demise/funeral sequence in Zoolander, the story also allows for Ferrell's bookworm character Allen to have a bizarre past history... as a pimp(?!). It's done in a silly way, but it also, in no way, really fits his character. Lastly, anyone who's familiar with the buddy cop film genre will find the plot of the mismatched underdogs trying to solve a case that they're not allowed to be on to be a pretty common plot. From the 1998 film Rush Hour to even the new TV show, The Good Guys, it's a plot that we've seen time and time again.
The Other Guys plays out as one of those lighthearted fun feature-length romps that is hilarious at times, but ultimately takes sides with the vulgar way too often to feel truly enjoyable. I love screwball comedies, but these days, you'd be hard pressed to find one that isn't laden with profanity and bedroom humor. While The Other Guys is a better comedy than last week's Dinner For Schmucks, it's just as problematic and just as frequently offensive. Your best bet is to skip them both or maybe wait for it on TV. It's a shame, too, because if it weren't for that, The Other Guys could have been the guys to watch.- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 8/5/10)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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