Staring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes
Directed by Adam McKay
"The Other Guys" is a pretty funny movie. It reunites Will Ferrell with director Adam McKay, and Mark Wahlberg is also along for the ride to deliver some laughs. Granted, there are some problems with it, but overall it is a good flick.
It starts off with Samuel L. Jackson proving that he is one of the greatest people who ever lived. He is in high-speed pursuit of a bunch of bad guys along with Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, who I guess would be also awesome if he had not just stared in "The Tooth Fairy". Anyway, Jackson's car gets stuck in a bus, he frees it and he goes flying at the bad guys, shouting a bunch of stuff I could not understand, blows up a bunch of stuff, and somehow survives. YEAH! Unfortunately, both of them are killed in a separate incident shortly afterward (the poster above is a bit deceiving; they have a total of about five minutes of screen time). This occurs when, in order to stop another bunch of bad guys, they jump off of a building that is about 10-20 stories high in order to land in a bunch of bushes that were not there, and even if they were, they would not have prevented them from dying or at least critically injured them.
Anyway, with both of them out of the picture, who will take their place as the big shot of the department? That's right, the Other Guys! We have Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), who plays a jerk cop who is haunted by a tragedy from his past: he shot Derek Jeter in the leg during the 2003 World Series, costing the Yankees the championship. This a bit ironic since in real life Wahlberg is from Boston, so I suspect a Red Sox conspiracy. Anyway, he gets stuck with Allen Gamble (Ferrell) who is basically Bob Saget's character Danny Tanner from "Full House". He is just incredibly bland and lame, though in this instance the character is actually funny (yes, we all loved “Full House” when we were 5, but it’s time to move on). The two of them come across a suspected financial cover-up involving a famous investor named David Ershon (Steve Coogan), which leads them on a wild goose chase that leads them to meet some interesting characters, and includes a number of gags such as Allen having some unfortunate things happen to his Prius, and both of them having their shoes stolen...twice. There are a number of good quotes involving peacocks and other things throughout the feature. Oh yeah, and Michael Keaton plays their boss who, among other things, keeps quoting TLC songs, though he insists that he is not... Well, its not "Batman", but at least Keaton is still working, right?
I guess he biggest problem that this film has is that it gets extremely distracted. True, when Ferrell and McKay did "Anchorman" and "Talladega Nights" each had random scenes that did not really progress the story but were still funny. In this movie, the same thing happens, but they take way too many detours, and it gets to the point where its 1 hour, 47 minute running time feels like 2 and a half hours. Do not get me wrong, the stuff they put in there was usually funny, but they could have condensed the material a little more so that it felt more it had a more cohesive story arch.
There is also this weird part during the closing credits that shows the differences in the income between American employees and their super-rich bosses, as well as making references to TARP and other aspects of the recent financial meltdown. Admittedly, some of the stuff they mention is kind of interesting, but they play off of a part of the plot which is ultimately insignificant; the information would feel better served if it were shown at the end of the upcoming "Wall Street" sequel. If Ferrell and McKay want to get political, they can save it for their "Funny or Die" website, not try to shove it into a film where it does not belong.
Despite its flaws, "The Other Guys" is a feature that made me laugh more often than not. While it is not as funny as "Anchorman" or "Talladega", it is the best movie Will Ferrell has done in years, which is good news for him given the sub-par quality of his recent work. Either way, it is worthwhile, and I recommend it.
P.S. If you stay until the end of the closing credits (and the populist rant), as Ferrell/McKay fans may expect, there is an extra scene with Ferrell and Wahlberg. It is nothing much, but you can check it out if you want.