“THE OTHER GUYS” (Will Ferrell & Mark Wahlberg)
When I read the synopsis for this film early in the year I thought it had possibilities despite the two leads. With a supporting cast which included Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton & Eva Mendes, I was actually looking forward to seeing the finished product. “The Other Guys” is pretty darn funny & the reason, believe it or not, are the two leads; Ferrell & Wahlberg make this film work BECAUSE they don’t really have good enough acting chops to make any chemistry. Weird thing to write, I know, but it fits because their characters have absolutely nothing in common, yet they are brought together by being partnered as police detectives. Ferrell is Det. Gamble – Wahlberg, Det. Hoitz. Ferrell is a police accountant – Wahlberg is a gung ho hot shot whose career was ruined when he mistakenly shot a star New York athlete & ruined the cities’ chances for another championship. They dislike one another but on entirely different grades – Gamble’s dislike is displayed with an even tempered monotone, while Hoitz’s anger is out in the open & volatile. Under normal ‘Will Ferrell movie’ plots this could have been a disaster, but this time it works because Ferrell keeps his goofy side under control throughout most of the film – In fact, when he does go off like a half cocked lunatic, it’s comical genius since you don’t see it coming (Except for the one they show in the preview, which was obviously included to ATTRACT fans of your typical Will Ferrell movie) Probably his best film other than the almost perfect ‘Stranger Than Fiction’, Ferrell shines – as does Wahlberg. When Gamble takes Hoitz home to discuss the case they’re investigating, in walks Eva Mendes in a sexy low cut dress. Gamble introduces her as his wife, the doctor. “No seriously, who is that?” Hoitz continues to ask as Gamble tries to get back to the matter at hand. “Is that some hooker you hired to impress me?”
Oddly enough, the person that attracted me most to this project isn’t in it very much & isn’t all that impressive – Samuel L. Jackson & Dwayne Johnson play the media darling cops that always make a huge splash when they crack a case – It doesn’t matter that they caused millions of dollars in damage, “We got the job done, that’s all that matters!”
In fact, Jackson & Johnson don’t make much of an impression at all until their final scene together – I will always remember Jackson’s last line in the movie – “Aim for the bushes,” because what followed make me laugh out loud.
And that happened several times during ‘The Other Guys’ but that’s not to say this film is a laugh riot – some scenes worked so well that everything about them seemed hilarious & other scenes just fell flat - & not that they were going for poignant moments & the plot simply became boring, there were scenes that were meant to be humorous that were painstakingly unfunny. But for the most part the Ferrell-Wahlberg combo hits the mark; Hoitz is trying to get the stuffy Gamble to break out of his comfort zone & take on one of the dangerous cases – “Don’t you want to feel the tingling in your balls? The butterflies churning in your stomach?” he asks Gamble, who adopts a look of concern & says, “You think you might have testicular cancer?”
And another line all Mariner fans will chortle at concerns the infamous A-Rod.
It was nice to see Michael Keaton back in the comedy game, though his character is a ‘by-the-book’ police captain who doesn’t get any of the big laughs, but every time I see him I think of ‘Night Shift’ & that alone makes me laugh...
Some silly buddy comedies elevate into a class of their own while some never get off the ground – ‘The Other Guys’ hits some turbulence from time to time, but in the long run it’s a ride you should enjoy taking...