The Other Guys review
|REVIEWS - MOVIES|
A buddy-cop comedy with a stellar investment and a fair return...
A twist on the traditional cop genre, The Other Guys is a no-holds-barred buddy comedy about what it’s like to come second.
Detectives Danson and Highsmith (Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson) are superstar cops, respected by their peers and loved by an adoring public. In fact they are so good that other people do their paperwork for them. People like Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) a naïve and cowardly forensic accountant who would rather chase paper trails than a criminal with a gun.
Unsurprisingly for a film of this nature Gamble is paired with his polar opposite, failed Special Forces agent Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), whose frustration at being stuck behind a desk manifests itself in bursts of staccato aggression. All that remains is for the motley detectives to stumble across a multi-billion dollar conspiracy, and a chance for ‘the other guys’ to finally have their day.
This is a film that has everything going for it. A script from Chris Henchy (Land Of The Lost) and writer/director Adam McKay (Talladega Nights, Anchorman), lead performances from Will Ferrell, the most inspiring comic actor of his generation, and Academy Award nominated Mark Wahlberg, alongside a strong supporting cast including Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes, Ray Stephenson and Steve Coogan.
"Given that this is an action-comedy, either the joke has to be king or there needs to be a gripping plot"
It would be hard for even the grimmest of critics to deny that there are some truly hilarious moments, from TLC references to wooden guns with the best bits centred on Ferrell’s character as the archetypal yellow-bellied underdog. On the other hand there are some duff moments as well, and when these occur it’s hard to avoid the fact that the plot is surprisingly thin and fragmented.
Given that this is an action-comedy, either the joke has to be king or there needs to be a gripping plot. However, The Other Guys seems to come somewhere in between – it has humour and some great set piece scenes, but lacks consistency in both departments. And whilst Ferrell steps up to the plate in typical fashion, Wahlberg is tiresome and somewhat out of his depth. It’s not that he can’t do comedy, but the voice of his character lacks the irony of his outstanding cameo in The Departed, from which this film sought inspiration. Instead, he is left as a caricature of a mentally scarred cop who shouts far too much, and is not in the least bit believable even within the realms of this world. As such, you might think they would have done better to stick to the brat pack formula with someone like Owen Wilson and use Wahlberg effectively in one of the supporting roles.
Gripes to one side, there is plenty here to enjoy, including a jaw-crackingly funny first ten minutes. This is an ideal Saturday night film – just don’t go expecting a masterpiece.
The Other Guys opens in the UK on 17th of September
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