Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Other Guys: Grade B

The Other Guys (2010)

Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes, Steve Coogan; Co-writer & director Adam McKay.

I am not a big fan of Will Ferrell’s loud and obvious comic style, but this movie was LOL funny for me. I’ve never seen Wahlberg in a comic role before but he has good timing and made the part a success.

The two cops are ridiculed NYPD officers assigned to desk jobs. Ferrell’s character likes doing paperwork because it is quiet and happy work and nobody shoots at you. Wahlberg craves action, but has been confined to the desk ever since he accidentally shot Derek Jeter in the leg. Jeter has a cameo for that scene. Throughout the movie Wahlberg is introduced as “the cop who shot Jeter.” A typical response is “You should have shot A-Rod!”

The jokes are often wordgames and cultural allusions, which I enjoy. And there are some just plain loopy scenes, like Ferrell's story of a band of tunas attacking a pack of lions. The writers have a worthy successor to the Leslie Nielsen brand of screwball humor. The visual and situational gags are usually silly, sometimes satirical. I especially enjoyed the Prius-related jokes and gags. The exasperated police captain (Keaton) has a second job at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

The two deskbound cops finally get out on some assignments which leads to “buddy cop” jokes reminiscent of the Lethal Weapon franchise, with a dash of Inspector Clouseau bumbling to success. I think what makes it really work, besides good writing, is Ferrell’s deadpan delivery, great face acting, and impeccable timing, traits that Wahlberg copies admirably, if not to the same degree of perfection. Coogan also shows excellent comic form in his role as a crooked financial wizard.

Music is quite good, and there are plenty of loud, colorful explosions for the kids. Samuel Jackson and Dwayne Johnson appear in a brief opening segment that is not necessary and not funny, but burnishes the film’s action credentials. You must appreciate goofy humor to like this movie, which is above average for its genre.

1 comment:

  1. Wishing you the best of health and happiness in 2011 !
    An occasional visitor.