Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: The Other Guys (2010) TH

Off-the-wall cops and financial frauders

At first glance, this looks to be another same-ol', same-ol' buddy cop movie after just getting over the sour taste of "Cop Out." Though this was one of the better comedies of 2010, as generic, stupid or pointless it may initially seem--it ain't. This also works as an action movie spoof that is less exaggerated than "Loaded Weapon" and "Hot Shots" and more closer to "Hot Fuzz," if still unlike. It's off in its own odd-ball world where everyday life is noteworthy and completely over-the-top silly in a way similar to the director's other works like "Anchorman" and "Talladega Nights." The simplistic story has some relating points, though the scenarios and setups in between is what makes this an amusing ride that has capability of repeating and reliving.

Two NYPD detectives are begrudgingly assigned together and have to maintain the partner's code which entails getting each other's backs, except they have nothing in common to the point of being the absolute antithesis of one another. Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) is a man's man who's more street wise than book smart and also doesn't express himself through anything but anger and disapproval: a yell, a smirk, a cold stare at the slightest slip in his chauvinist view. Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) is a learned but gullible man who's the everybody-make-fun-of guy due to everything he does going strictly by the book, not to mention looking like a straight-edge accountant that he is who plays it safe behind his desk, outdated specs and the wheels of a Prius.

The super cops--more like "superstars"--of the department get first dibs on calls and are practically treated like royalty. Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Danson (Dwayne Johnson) wear their shades, flashy clothing and drive their muscle cars, except until they unexpectedly check out early and someone else takes their place in front of the cameras and press stands. Hoitz wants him and his tight-end partner to step up after being stuck behind a desk--or as he puts it "I am a peacock, you gotta let me fly!"--by doing everyone else's paper work. Except first they have some competition with the wise crackin' partners Martin (Rob Riggle) and Fosse (Damon Wayans Jr.) who can't help to mess with Gamble, such as making him do a "desk pop" and fire his gun in the office as if it's just some supposed initiation. Gamble stumbles onto some evidence after making what seems to be a pointless arrest for a financial investor named David Ershon (Steve Coogan). After the Captain (Michael Keaton) tells them to repeatedly back off, they still urge ahead as they have a gut hunch and suspect something fishy's going with other people's money. That is only after they get bribed to sports games and concerts but are too stupid to realize, not to mention are being chased by a ruthless security team headed by an Australian named Wesley (Ray Stevenson) who keeps rolling a bolder in their path.

As dorky as Gamble is you realize there's another side to him, such as for some reason attracting all the fine ladies without even having to try. Hoitz is a straight shooter that you find out has something in him but is afraid to let it out, such as secretly knowing ballet, but only because he wanted to imitate how "queer" it was when younger. They have to prove themselves and reverse the decisions that landed them to desk jockey duty instead of being out there with the big boys. But first they have to dodge a couple of reprimands from the Captain who needs to keep his guys in line so he can put his bi-sexual son who wants to be a DJ through college. Now it's all about two cops going out on a limb by sifting through the politics and doing what's right. Yep, it's about as cliche as that but the story--still with some relating points about bailouts and Ponzi schemes--isn't the entire emphasis but also the inventive puns, jokes and comedic observations to go along with it about things in general, pop culture and cop movie fare.

Similar to "Cop Out," this has everything a bad movie usually has, except the difference is "The Other Guys" used its purposeful set-backs to its advantage with consistent timing and the chemistry of a team to pull that off with. Otherwise, it's such an overused convention that rides a fine line that can fall on its face when not pulling off the trick without a hitch. Where would this be without some shoot outs and car chases like a good ol' cop and bad guys story even if they are even more exaggerated than what they're emulating. This is often direct, unashamed, raunchy and mean-spirited, but at the same time hilarious in that it takes it all the way to the hilt without feeling guilty about it. They say some of the most ridiculous lines but while maintaining a completely stern-faced serious look. This has an abundance of I-can't-believe-they-just-went-there snappy jokes with a well-timed comedic side on all fronts that makes this such a thoroughly and highly entertaining and fun experience that should be fresh for some time.

Director: Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talledega Nights, Eastbound & Down)
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton, Damon Wayans Jr., Rob Riggle, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Mendes
Website: IMDB