The Other Guys
Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Samuel L Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Paris Hilton, Ray Stevenson, Lindsay Sloane, Anne Heche, Steve Coogan, Rob Riggle, Rob Huebel, Damon Wayans Jr., Andy Buckley, Derek Jeter, Liam Ferguson
Director: Adam McKay
Rowan University, 10
“I appreciate smart, but you know man, in this game, you gotta have more than that.” – Stringer Bell, The Wire
The Other Guys
Review By: Dariel Figueroa
Comedy is a relative concept. Some enjoy the long set-up; their punch lines stabbing their gizzards after a nice long build à la Woody Allen. Others perhaps enjoy the comedy of the bizarre; a blend of Ernie Kovacs and Andy Kaufmann is the ticket to tickle their funny bone. Of course you have your physical humor, a staple of the jesting trade championed by Chaplin and later great talents like Jim Carrey and Chris Farley. Whatever your preference, there is bound to be something, whether classic or contemporary, that will make you chuckle to the point your stomach muscles contract with pain.
Will Ferrell, the best SNL alum since Eddie Murphy, is also one of the best comedic actors in recent memory. His timing and improve abilities are world class and he’s shown in the past (Anchorman, Talledega Nights, Elf) that he can successfully pilot big Hollywood vehicles. In The Other Guys, Ferrell gets to share the load with Mark Wahlberg, with frequent collaborators Adam McKay and Chris Henchy taking the reins in the directing and writing departments respectively.
The Other Guys is an ambitious action comedy much in the same vein as Tropic Thunder. Wahlberg and Ferrell star as two desk jockey cops who get a shot at showing what they are made of when the department’s lead action stars (played with over the top bravado by The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson) meet their fate. Ferrell, a reformed pimp, and Wahlberg, a “Yankee-clipper” (watch the film to see what that means), are basically the laughing stock of the department, but when they stumble upon a criminal empire they’ll do whatever necessary to catch the bad guys and establish themselves as top cops.
There is a lot to digest in this film; the unrated version is almost two hours long and it is packed with gags and bits played out by some of the most talented names in comedic acting today. With top talents like Steve Coogan, Michael Keaton, Damon Wayans Jr., Rob Riggle, Rob Huebel (who is hilarious in one particular scene), and more, it’s hard to miss the mark with so many hilarious entities involved. There are some honest to goodness gut-busting moments in this film that will have you laughing for quite a time, but it’s not all hits in this film.
Particularly, the comedic acting chops of Marky Mark are just not up to par with everyone else in this picture and it shows. His timing is not nearly as good as Ferrell’s and many of his bits fall flat. Its not all his fault though, much of the film was improvised and he just doesn’t have the riffing background that most of the cast has. Also, director Adam McKay has trouble finding his groove on this pic.
With that said, see this film if you want to laugh. Although the film at times feels like a high-budget sketch show, some of the bits had me crying with laughter. The humor here is silly, outlandish, bathroom-related, and oh so funny. Michael Keaton is a joy to watch as he holds his own against these comedy heavyweights and it’s a wonder why he doesn’t get more work like this. Rob Riggle is quietly becoming one of the funniest men on TV and film and for good reason; everything he says is insanely comical. Steve Coogan is another talent that is just fun to watch; his facial expressions are fantastic and he plays smarmy to a tee. Will Ferrell, though, is the real star here; his quiet desk cop routine is great especially when it plays against his slight moments of hysteria. His world-class improv and riffing skills are on display, and if the Oscars had a comedic acting award, he would win it for this role.
As for the Blu-ray extras…wow. That’s all I can say. The extras on this disc are so vast and hilarious I’m surprised it didn’t get its own release. There are tons of deleted and extended scenes, a music video, a couple featurettes, and my favorite: the mom-mentary, a commentary track featuring the moms of Ferrell, Henchy and McKay; all in all, one of the better packages of extras in recent memory. The Blu-ray has a few more things packaged with it, but the DVD is still chock full of funny.
If you are looking to bust a gut with a few friends for an evening, then The Other Guys is the ticket you’re looking for. Despite a couple slip-ups, there is enough comedy here to satiate even the most jaded filmgoer. While not an immediate classic nor a timeless comedic masterpiece like Brooks’ The Producers (the original, not that atrocity of a remake), this is big budget, improv comedy at its best.