Rating: 4 out of 5
The Other Guys’ writer/director Adam McKay should be best known as the guy who gives Will Ferrell his best material (Talladega Nights, Anchorman). It’s come to the point where the moment I don’t see an Adam McKay credit for a Ferrell movie, I instinctively assume it’s going to be tepid at best (Blades of Glory, Land of the Lost).
Equally as integral is picking the right guy to play off Ferrell - and while you’d normally pick a straight man to counter Ferrell’s goofy obliviousness, this is one of those instances where counterintuitive casting works because Mark Wahlberg’s overt parody of his aggro typecast perfectly complements.
Ferrell and Wahlberg are Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz. They’re not the super cops you see in Jerry Bruckheimer blockbusters, they’re The Other Guys. They’re screw-up desk-jockeys who are forced to do other cops’ paperwork like the nerds that gets bullied into doing the jocks homework while the superstars go around blowing stuff up and having lots of sex.
They live in the shadow of NYPD hotshots Danson (Dwayne Johnson) and Manzetti (Samuel L. Jackson). Now, they’re your typical action movie heroes, just with the swagger and masculinity turned up to eleven...thousand. Johnson is basically The Rock in cop form while Jackson does what he does best, speaking in screaming one-liners.
Their reckless tactics and daredevil stunts have earned them New York’s admiration (and an affair with Kim Kardashian) so it’s only logical for them to start to think of themselves as invulnerable. This assumption is proven hilariously off-base pretty soon.
Up steps Gamble and Hoitz as unlikely replacements as they stumble onto the biggest case of their careers. Keep in mind, Gamble carries a replica gun made from polished timber because the department can’t trust him with a real firearm and Hoitz is the cop who accidentally shot Derek Jeter during a World Series game (‘He’s a biracial angel! You should’ve shot A-Rod instead!’).
If the misadventures of two bumbling wannabe super detectives sound suspiciously like another movie from earlier this year called Cop Out - that’s because it is. Except it takes Cop Out’s shtick and does everything better, from the random running gags to the berserker action. Sorry Kevin Smith, you aren’t even the geek king of ludicrous non-sequiturs anymore.
It’s true that this movie can seem like a series of bite-sized sketches that you’d find on Funny Or Die or Saturday Night Live (McKay runs FunnyOrDie.com and used to write for SNL incidentally) - just strung together by gratuitous action-movie bustle and a confusingly flimsy plot.
This would typically be a point of complaint but in this case, the gags are so consistently amusing and the clichés are so obviously mined for surreal satire. You’ll honestly be too busy laughing at a police captain fond of offhandedly quoting TLC lyrics or a gang of hobos repeatedly having mass orgies in Gamble’s Prius to quibble about its minor flaws.
About Hidzir Junaini
Hidzir Junaini, is 23-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for MetroWize Asia.
Hidzir was the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.