Movie Review: The Other Guys- While it isn’t Ferrell and McKay’s Best Team Endeavor it is Still an Enjoyable Semi-Satire of the Buddy Cop Genre

Ah the charm and humor that can be created with out of type action stars. This isn’t a new concept, nor has it been depleted of ample material, and luckily Adam McKay’s new comedy The Other Guys does a decent job keeping the laughs coming despite the familiar concept. The Other Guys isn’t close to being a Hot Fuzz or a Beverly Hills Cop but as buddy cop comedies come and go Adam McKay’s ability to write a steadily paced and decently satirical script makes the comedy experience worth while. Many doubters of Will Ferrell to be funny again, due to his continuous record of comedic duds such as Land of the Lost and Blades of Glory, will be pleasantly surprised that the comedy rests solely on his shoulders and he carries the weight nicely. It certainly helps to have a cast full of familiar faces that can deliver their lines with charm and authority, especially when one of those actors is Ferrell’s on screen foil Mark Wahlberg. Perhaps it’s the lack of good comedies over the course of an entire summer but it’s refreshing to see Ferrell deliver this known archetypical form of comedy he is known for while remaining tactful and disciplined through the entire film. The film is best when the comedy is ridiculous and doesn’t focus too much on the hair brained story, including the corruption of high end finance, and allows the two protagonists to work vibrantly off each other to make an enjoyable, if not classic, comedic experience.

Opening up The Other Guys are two classically stereotypical action stars Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson as the two super cops that cause more damage to the city than the crime was actually worth. It’s a clever ruse and both of them work well in their brief stint as the idolized cop heroes that don’t bother to listen to or care about, who they refer to as, the “other guys.” Ferrell plays Allen Gamble, an ignorantly happy police accountant who is proud of his job despite the lack of respect that comes with it. His desk partner Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) is, of course, the complete opposite wanting to break free from the boring and trivial life that is the desk of a cop forced to do paperwork. As these stories go the duo who seem the least bit capable of filling the hero cop shoes end up launching themselves head first into a cover up conspiracy or a case that no one else seemed to be able to figure out. And that is the familiar aspect of The Other Guys that tries to satirize the formula but loses track of the parody and becomes what it was poking fun of. But this doesn’t mean it takes away from the clever writing that is present throughout, with memorable sequences between Ferrell and Wahlberg such as debating whether a lion or a tuna will become the dominant species in a battle of the food chain. It’s also revitalizing to see a comedy that doesn’t depend on gross out humor or obscene dialogue to just utilize the shock value of the audience. Instead Adam McKay tosses away his formula from Step Brothers and tones down the language and the weird, loutish behavior of his characters and stays balanced in his parody depiction of two paper work cops who break out of their shells.

Not everything works in The Other Guys, which isn’t to say it takes away from the experience being an enjoyable one. It just seems that McKay got a bit distracted in exactly what he wanted to focus on in his comedy, either the satirical nature of his cop protagonists or criticizing high end finance and the perceived corruption that the ending credits lavishes in displaying. However, comedy nowadays isn’t necessarily for the realm of high concept, and The Other Guys is simply a more controlled, less outrageous Will Ferrell comedy that is more in the vein of Anchorman than it is Talladega Nights. The Other Guys’ possesses a great deal of enjoyable and laughable moments including random dialogue interludes, off type relationships for Ferrell and his perceived ugliness, Wahlberg’s brutish anger and successful facial reactions, and a supporting cast that knows how to deliver well written lines and have a contributing presence to the framework of a comedy that allows it to work.

The satire in The Other Guys comes to life with the presence of Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson mocking their bravado, and the ridiculous comedy is successful with Ferrell and Wahlberg’s intriguing and lively counter acting personalities. However, the supporting cast is full of familiar faces that allow each scene or intended comedic bit work, especially the presence of Michael Keaton. Keaton knows exactly how to balance his character’s intended delivery and lines and even steals the show most of the time he’s on the screen. This occurs when he’s either referencing TLC songs unknowingly or when he breaks up a polite fight during a funeral by whispering his lecture. The rest of the cast choices, including Daily Show’s Rob Riggle, Damon Waynes Jr, and British comedian Steve Coogan, all embody a persona that livens up the comedy or the scene where nothing gets too dry or flat. The Other Guys certainly isn’t an award winner, for technical filmmaking, writing, or comedy, but it knows its limits and gracefully balances the outrageous with the witty. Ferrell might have exhausted his welcome with many fans or movie goers but McKay’s decent script and good supporting cast really help Ferrell with the comedy contained in The Other Guys and can definitely be described as humorous.

Director and writer Adam McKay has teamed up with Ferrell many times, and The Other Guys isn’t necessarily their best work as a team but it doesn’t disappoint in comparison to the summers already failed comedies. Sure the concept is familiar, but the cast does a good job with the script that handles its limitations and expectations well. If it weren’t for the careful handling of putting the right people in each role, and putting a more controlled foil to Ferrell’s already unhinged craziness, then The Other Guys would have fallen a bit flat and been another Ferrell dud. Fortunately for McKay and the gang, The Other Guys works as a semi-satire of the buddy cop genre that utilizes more wit than absurdity and better pacing and line delivery instead of pure vulgarity. This is one of the better comedies of the summer to put some money into due to the fact that it doesn’t try too hard to win your affection and stays true to its intended comedic goal.

Grade: B-

One Response to “Movie Review: The Other Guys- While it isn’t Ferrell and McKay’s Best Team Endeavor it is Still an Enjoyable Semi-Satire of the Buddy Cop Genre”
  1. Kirk Leddon says:

    Ok you have convince me to go see it…Sounds like it might be fun

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