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The Other Guys (12A)

Rachel Winterbottom finds good cop, bad cop but no funny cop in this action-comedy crime film

Written by . Published on September 27th 2010.

The Other Guys (12A)

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Samuel L Jackson’s trigger-happy New York cops burst onto the screen amid explosions, gunfire and an overblown car-cum-bus chase that harks back to action’s glory days even more effectively than the action hero retirement party that was The Expendables.

Will Ferrell has always been hit and miss throughout his career. For every Anchorman there’s been a Bewitched, and although outlandish characters are definitely his forte, sometimes you just wish his tiny little eyes would betray some kind of emotion.

But this film is not about them, it’s about The Other Guys, and following the macho pairs’ inexplicable deaths it’s up to two hilariously mismatched detectives to try and fill their shoes as NYC’s latest heroic cop duo. This looks highly unlikely when the partners consist of Mark Wahlberg’s demoted and demented Terry Hoitz and Will Ferrell’s overly peppy Allen Gamble - the office’s paper bitch, as he’s affectionately known.

Eager for the chance to prove himself after accidentally shooting baseball player Derek Jeter, Hoitz is determined to beat fellow detectives to any crime scene. This is providing that he can bring himself to ride shotgun in Gambles’ Prius (aka ‘The Vagina’), a man he hates so much that if he was a tuna he’d eat him. Unfortunately for Hoitz, forensic accountant Gamble would rather just keep his head down because the last time he lost control, it led to a prostitution ring.

Luckily for Hoitz, Gamble’s dull scaffolding permit case turns out to be a big lead that reveals billionaire David Ershon’s (Steve Coogan) scheme to recover his company’s humungous losses by scamming someone even more idiotic than himself. Will the pair ever band together and stop shouting long enough to stop Ershon’s dastardly plan?

This is the fourth film that co-writer and director Adam McKay has worked on with Ferrell, beginning with the excellently irreverent Anchorman. However, much like the Shyamalan of comedy, each of their subsequent films has suffered from the law of diminishing returns. As a result, The Other Guys was never going to be the hero of the bunch.

The film plays like one long anger management class for ex-rapper Wahlberg. Maybe he’s still suffering the after affects from previous mistakes Max Payne and The Happening? Choosing to shout each of his lines into the nearest face, Walhberg would definitely benefit from learning to use his indoor voice. His expression appears so baffled by how much outrage it has to express that his eyebrows look like caterpillars desperately trying to do yoga.

Will Ferrell has always been hit and miss throughout his career. For every Anchorman there’s been a Bewitched, and although outlandish characters are definitely his forte, sometimes you just wish his tiny little eyes would betray some kind of emotion. Allen Gamble at first seems relatively low-key for Ferrell, but it isn’t long before he’s matching Wahlberg decibel for decibel.

As usual with McKay, the humour lies in the utterly random narrative tangents and increasingly ludicrous situations that, in this case, only occasionally pay off. From Michael Keaton’s police captain who obliviously quotes TLC lyrics, Gamble’s inexplicably hot wife (Eva Mendes) and fellow detectives ‘At the crime scene LOL’ Tweets. This all works in part due to a support cast that includes Keaton and Coogan, as well as Mendes, who holds her own amid the comic gurning of Ferrell and Wahlberg.

Ultimately, sense was never going to be on the agenda for a McKay and Ferrell film, but it’s as if someone left the caps lock on whilst writing the script. Characters randomly explode with anger mid-sentence and their personalities veer violently between varying levels of sanity. Rampant sexism, stereotyping and lazy plot devices aside, the narrative is often so chaotic and ridiculous that the humour becomes too oblique to work.


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D KesslerSeptember 28th 2010.

George Bush TV. Could you review proper films, please?

RachelSeptember 29th 2010.


NortherngeezerSeptember 29th 2010.

Rachel: Zulu - The Musical, coming to a telly near you, Boxing day, every f**kin boxin day!!!!

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