Notable Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Eva Mendes
Review: Alright Adam McKay, get all these other movies out of your system so you can just direct The Boys already. Had to get that out there. Ok, The Other Guys: had an extremely promising cast, a pretty clever idea, and a director that knows a thing or two about comedy. But when I left the theater, I honestly wasn’t that impressed. Nothing struck me as utterly hilarious and I thought the laughs were few and far between. But something happened while writing this review. I was just about to say how no funny scenes really stuck with me even now, but just as I was typing that sentence I started going “Oh wait, there was that one scene. Oh man, that was pretty funny too. Wait, how did I forget that??” I’m going to call this the Semi-Pro effect. When I first saw Semi-Pro in theaters I thought it was the biggest piece of garbage ever. Then I caught it on HBO and laughed a little harder. Then I watched it again and started dying at parts. Now, it’s about 5 views later and I own the DVD. I can’t explain it, but some movies don’t hit you as hard the first time but become funnier over time and honestly, The Other Guys is a perfect example as I just found out.
The story is about Gamble (Ferrell) and Hoitz (Wahlberg), who are two second-rate cops in the NYPC. Super cops Highsmith (Jackson) and Danson (Johnson) are always first to the scene and the most popular cops on the force. But after an interesting incident (and probably the funniest part of the entire movie), Highsmith and Danson end up off the force and Gamble and Hoitz finally get the chance to step up instead of being the “other guys.” Too bad for Hoitz that Gamble wants nothing to do with field work and is happy sitting at his desk doing reports. Long story short Hoitz snaps, drags Gamble into the field, and get involved in the biggest case of both their lives. Hoitz has Gamble in so far even he can’t turn the opportunity down, and the team go for broke. Along the way Gamble’s “dark past” is something he struggles with, but Hoitz is able to keep him focused and on the job. As long as Hoitz and Gamble go by the books and do everything right (yeah, Ok), they finally have the opportunity to be more than just The Other Guys.
This was a movie that relied a ton on the characters, and they were in fact the best parts. The story is just the same recycled nonsense: evil man, stealing lots of money, must be stopped. So of course the variety of characters is going to make or break this film. The strongest two characters by far are Highsmith and Danson simply because Sammy J and Dwayne Johnson are badasses with charisma. No one can match the confidence, attitude, or look of Samuel L. Jackson. It is a fact. When he yells, there is a certain something about his delivery that just makes you envy him and fear him at the same time. And The Rock just has the look of someone you do not mess with. Ever. Or he will eat you whole. So team them up and you have two cops that command your attention in every scene. But that isn’t even the best part. I’m not spoiling anything, but the way they exit the film is up there with most epic exits ever. And that’s where I get a little angry because I would have loved the competition over the whole film of Jackson/Johnson vs. Ferrell/Wahlberg. Highsmith and Danson could have had so many hilarious moments together, but instead you get only about 20 minutes of their characters then poof, gone. But, Marky Mark does pretty well with his first serious comedic role and Ferrell plays the same straight edge guy he’s done a million times. Think Stranger Than Fiction Ferrell before he starts hearing voices. Derek Jeter makes a hilarious cameo, Eva Mendes is freakin’ Eva Mendes, Steve Coogan plays a slimy business man with some hilarious diversion tactics, but I loved Michael Keaton most of all because he plays the crazy boss who’s serious the whole time and thinking he’s being normal. All in all, the characters do a good job shining at their own moments.
I also am a sucker for well-done recurring jokes, which are plentiful in The Other Guys. McKay knew he had some really funny jokes and figured hey, if they work one time, why not milk it the whole movie? He uses each one the perfect amount of times (Like the “Great White Buffalo” joke from Hot Tub Time Machine) and never lets any of them become overused, which is important. The two that stand out are Ferrell’s past and Keaton’s “unintentional” quoting of a certain band. You think their done with the joke then boom, out of nowhere McKay sneaks it in and gets another laugh out of you. Anyone can use a recurring joke, but knowing when enough is enough is where the real art is. And like I said, Adam McKay knows a thing or two about comedy.
In the end, if you’ve seen any Will Ferrell/Adam McKay collaboration, you know what kind of humor to expect. If none of their movies have done anything for you, The Other Guys will not win you over. If you’ve laughed time and time again because of the duo, you’re going to love this movie just as much as the rest. I still stick to my guns that there were times when the laughs were few and far between, but a few key scenes really got to me and made this film worth the watch. Still not the best comedy I’ve ever seen, but hey it’s going to make you laugh. And Sammy J makes pretty much anything worth it. If you need one reason to watch The Other Guys, make it Sammy J. He alone will make this case worth your while.
Final Rating: 7 glasses of glacier water with cucumber out of 10