The Other Guys Movie Review
In a year where we've seen the A-Team return to form and over-the-hill action stars reunite, another vestige of the 80's - the buddy cop film - returns with The Other Guys, a late summer hit starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD, the movie attempts to play that careful dance of spoofing the genre it's adhering to. And it succeeds... for about 30 minutes.
The first act of The Other Guys is hilarious. Wahlberg and Ferrell star as New York City police officers who are forced into action after their much-more-gung-ho cohorts (played by Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson) are taken out of action. Ferrell, of course, plays an awkward, bumbling idiot who has no interest in getting in gunfights, while Wahlberg plays a hotheaded action hero wannabe whose sole pleasure seems to be to torment his unlikely partner.
Screenwriters Chris Henchy and Adam McKay, who also directed the movie, find sparks in minute one. They are pitch perfect with their characters - both the leads and supporting roles - and hit all the right notes in the beginning.
Ferrell is surprisingly subdued, but Wahlberg is a riot, spouting out insults every moment he can. His straight-faced shock that Eva Mendes is Ferrell's "ugly" wife is priceless.
Henchy and McKay think of all kinds of weird material a la McKay's Anchorman, allowing The Other Guys to be absurd, goofy and sincere all at once.
And then the second act arrives and the movie comes to a screeching halt. Where The Other Guys should have descended into action-comedy mode, McKay instead strings viewers through a bunch of dull scenes that do little to progress the plot or provide excitement.
The plot of choice is one of Ponzi schemes, which, as relevant as that the topic is these days, is not exactly the most exciting route to take for an action movie. The Other Guys does have some action, but it is generally forced and not very memorable.
Henchy and McKay needed to treat the first act as a setup for the characters and then dive into an action-oriented plot to mix up and drive the comedic elements of the screenplay. Instead, they opt to keep pounding the same jokes over and over again and lock their characters into bland situations.
The Other Guys starts off strong but fades quickly. It isn't painful to watch, but to say it's a good movie would be a stretch. That's a shame, because it had a lot of potential.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.