Review: The Other Guys
The first 15 minutes of The Other Guys are dominated by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson. They’re the ass-kicking rock star cops in New York City, the ridiculous over-the-top guys who blow up an entire city block only to catch some punk with a gram of weed. Quite simply, they’re the shit.
Meanwhile, we’re introduced to “the other guys,” the miserable crew back at the station who work safe but boring jobs filing paperwork and checking building permits. One of these “other guys” is a wannabe badass played by Mark Wahlberg, relegated to such duties after mistakenly shooting Derek Jeter and earning the unfavorable nickname of “The Yankee Clipper.” He spends much of his time trying to convince his partner , a happily content accountant played by Will Ferrell, that they can become the city’s next top cops after Johnson and Jackson find out they aren’t as indestructible as they thought. It’s a shame, too. Jackson and Johnson are the cops I’d really like to see a movie about.
The seeds are also planted for some semblance of a plot in which Ferrell stumbles upon a low-profile case involving Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder) that turns out to be a lot bigger than he or his partner could have ever imagined. Please, don’t ask me the details because I never quite figured out that part of the movie.
Oh well, that’s not really important. This is a buddy cop comedy so the chemistry between those buddies is what makes or breaks the movie, and they play nicely off one another. Ferrell attempts to shake things up with a slightly more subdued performance than we are accustomed to seeing from him. It’s a welcomed change, but he often slips back into his same ol’ shtick when the situation calls for it. Wahlberg, on the other hand, is gold. He delivers plenty of tough guy wisecracks, but is still dopey enough to get flustered by the sight of his partner’s gorgeous wife.
Eva Mendes plays said gorgeous wife, who has no idea how hot she really is… which is kind of a given considering she plays Will Ferrell’s wife. Also in the mix is Michael Keaton, who’s quite funny as a police captain who also happens to be a weekend manager at Bed, Bath and Beyond with quite an affinity for TLC (the pop group, not the television station).
I did enjoy the wealth of fiery explosions and the narration by an uncredited Ice-T was a classy touch. The action sequences are even really well done, especially one climactic shootout where Wahlberg kicks more ass than in any such scene from Max Payne.
While it had its moments, the movie felt a bit overlong, a lot of the jokes were too drawn out, and some of the punchlines felt like they were lifted straight out of better Ferrell/McKay collaborations. Ultimately, The Other Guys was unable to avoid that long laughless lull that plagues so many Hollywood comedies. You know, that 15-20 minute gap where you forget you are even watching a comedy.
I’m not going to say The Other Guys is a bad action/comedy because it’s actually pretty decent when you compare it to recent efforts like MacGruber and The Bounty Hunter, but that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it? I don’t think “pretty decent” is worthy of a trip to the cinema and this one has “rental” written all over it.
RIYL: Pineapple Express, Bad Boys (for the Jackson/Johnson segment), Rush Hour.