Director: Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton
This is a film I have watched several times now; it’s another one of those go-to comedies that me and my friends always seem to land on when we are together. Whilst I don’t rate ‘The Other Guys’ as highly as films like ‘Anchorman’, ‘Due Date’ and ‘The Hangover’, it is certainly in the same vein as those brilliant comedies, and even comes from the same director as the iconic story of Ron Burgundy. Sadly, this is a film which is massively underrated and under-appreciated by many, with a somewhat lowly score of just 6.6 on IMDb. But I am here to convince you that this is, in fact, a highly entertaining, laugh out loud funny, good cop-bad cop story which you MUST give a chance.
In New York City, detectives Danson (Dwayne Johnson) and Highsmith (Samuel L Jackson) are lauded as heroes for their over the top manhunts and media presence, but when they die in a freak accident, someone needs to step up and become the top dogs in the NYPD. The last names on everybody’s shortlist would be Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) – a number cruncher and the hot head who shot Derek Jeter and cost the city a championship – but when they stumble across a multi-million dollar scam, they could just be on to the case of their lives if they can act like real cops for long enough.
Will Ferrell pulls out yet another high quality comedic performance, with his portrayal of a man who longs for the simple things in life – happiness, safety and friendship. It is Ferrell’s unrelenting pleasantness in the face of Wahlberg’s aggressive, angry man routine which is a real highlight for me, as well as his bizarre social habits, such as developing apps and singing in the most depressing choir ever. But, Allen Gamble has a secret past which, when revealed, is equal parts ridiculous and hilarious. Mark Wahlberg, the action man doing comedy? Before the ‘Ted’ series proved Wahlberg to be an adequate funny man, ‘The Other Guys’ showcased Wahlberg’s comedic talents brilliantly, and is actually my favourite of any of his performances. The chemistry (or lack of it) between Wahlberg and Ferrell is outstanding, as they clash perfectly with one another, much to the benefit of the audience. Of the various support roles throughout the film, special mention must go to Steve Coogan, who is excellent as the sniveling, cowardly David Ershon, and maybe the standout star of the whole show, Michael Keaton. Playing the Chief of Police – who works a second job at Bed, Bath & Beyond may I add – Keaton delivers humour with every line, and puts the icing on the cake with his unintentional references to the music of TLC.
Whilst many of the jokes land just fine, you get the sense that the writers here have tried to cram a joke into EVERY line, meaning some of the punchlines lose their effect. Or worse, some of the jokes were actually not funny at all; that’s what you get for stuffing a film full of funny one-liners. That said, when the jokes are good, they are GOOD. Every character provides humour throughout, and it is the more intricate, subtle jokes that you might miss, that are actually the most impressive and intelligent. The storyline is bizarre at times, yet interesting and entertaining for the most part, despite hitting a slight lull towards the end. But, by that point, I usually find myself sufficiently satisfied. It’s not perfect in terms of its narrative arc, but ‘The Other Guys’ is all about entertainment value.
There are literally too many good jokes in this film to ever do it justice in a review like this, but I guarantee that if you like the work of Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, or comedies of a similar ilk, you will enjoy this film. It won’t be the best comedy you’ve ever seen, but it is much better than a 6.6, and depending on the kind of evening you are looking for, ‘The Other Guys’ might just be perfect for you.