I get what the makers
of The Other Guys tried to do. They tried to satirize
the tired-ass cop-buddy movie formula. It's a formula so fucking
beat-down that even the satires of it are cliches. For example,
Cop Out, maybe the worst movie of 2010. At this point,
a sassy procedural is like the Bible. Anything said is probably
for the benefit of the speaker, not the audience, or spoken
by someone who hasn't bothered to look at what's already been
When boiled down
to its essence, which I often do with Chinese cough syrup using
a can of Sterno and a little privacy, The Other Guys
seems a hell of a lot like any of the Rush Hour or Shanghai
Noon movies, or any other piece-of-shit flick in the genre.
Will Ferrell plays the fish out of water, the cop who is in
over his head and Mark(y Mark) Wahlberg is the highly-competent,
no-bullshit partner who must endure him. He does enough eye-rolling
for about three sequels. They go after a high-profile case they've
been told to drop and are proven right. All the while, they
are mocked by the tougher cops and stripped of their guns by
I see what director
Adam McKay and his sitcom veteran co-writer Chris Henchy started
out trying to do. They wanted to subvert not only the conventions
of the buddy-cop genre, but of the sassy parody. The problem
is they don't seem competent enough to pull it of with any subtlety.
In many places, they bail out on being clever and fall back
on the old tropes they set out to mock.
Ferrell is a police
accountant who loves deskwork. He is reluctantly dragged into
action when the superstars of the force kill themselves fighting
crime. To differentiate him from every other square cop in over
his head, Ferrell is given a history as a trash-talking pimp.
It's a past he wants to bury under squaredom. He is also irresistible
to hot woman and married to Eva Mendes, whom he calls plain
and insults for her cooking. You can file that whole bit under
the category of "who the fuck thought that was funny?" His dark
past is brought up, I assume, because he will need to tap into
it later. He does, intermittently, but not in a rewarding way.
In the The Other Guys' saddest scene, Ferrell is kicked
out by Mendes after demanding to know who the father of her
unborn child is. It's not sad because he doesn't trust her.
It's sad because the setup never pays off. Ferrell leaves his
house and the movie just keeps going. He isn't sad and he doesn't
Wahlberg isn't funny.
He seems game, but the guy just doesn't have it. Instead, he
spends a shitload of time in the movie yelling, and another
shitload trying to look hangdog. That's two shitloads, which
is the metric equivalent of "Breakfast at the Country Buffet".
Steve Coogan is also
in the movie. Coogan is one fucking funny guy, but he chooses
some real shitty movies to be in. In this case, he is sort of
the villain. Part of the movie's problem is that there is no
obvious bad guy. It tries too damn hard to be clever when all
it really needs is an over-the-top foil. As it is, The Other
Guys has a very convoluted and misinformed story about high-flying
investors and a giant ponzi scheme. It's sort of timely, but
it's so fucking inane and wrongheaded that after seeing this
flick you understand how so many rich movie stars get sucked
into real scams; they don't have a fucking clue how money works.
Anyway, while Coogan
is some sort of scammer, there is also some business about an
Australian who kidnaps him, making it really fucking hard to
tell who Ferrell and Wahlberg are chasing or why. Having Coogan
in the movie and not giving him something to do is like putting
porn superstar Candy Bottoms in a crowd scene. Bottoms and letting
her triple-F tits stand out Why put it in there if you aren't
going to use the actor's best features?
Michael Keaton is
supposed to be a subversion of the hardass captain. In this
case, he's got a bisexual son he's putting through college.
The problem with him is, like most characters in the movie,
he's totally inconsistent. In a pathetic scene, after telling
the heros to drop the case a dozen times, he shrugs and cheerfully
helps them out. There is no good reason for the reversal except
the movie's race to a conclusion.
The Other Guys
has a lot of funny lines in it. Ferrell gets off a few, and
other characters say things that would be funny if they weren't
in such a convoluted, overstuffed movie with such wishy-washy
are in over their heads. They are trying to satirize too many
things. The plot is too contrived, there are too many characters
and they act too arbitrarily. The end plays too heavily on action
movie conventions. The Other Guys could have been a hell
of a lot funnier if it were half the movie. Two Fingers.
to tell Filthy Something?