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This week:
The Other Guys

Filthy says:
"Too much of too much."

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 said.

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 the captain.

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 seek forgiveness.

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 characters.

They moviemakers 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.

Want to tell Filthy Something?



Jim Ferguson of ABC-TV

Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is "A high-flying family adventure!"

Filthy's Reading
Charles Portis - True Grit

Listening to
The Hold Steady- Heaven is Whenever


Curb Your Enthusiasm