Movie Review: The Other Guys

The Other Guys

There’s something magical about the buddy cop genre, so it’s fitting that ‘The Other Guys’ conjures up the perfect mix of laughs, action, titillation, and redemption the genre is known for. Posing as the ultimate parody to the buddy cop theme, ‘Other Guys’ hits theatres this weekend and will be #1 with a bullet (So far, I’m 9 for 10 on that call).

Spinning the action-buddy line on its head like a top, the film follows the exploits (or lack thereof) of the lesser known members of a city crime unit. Detectives Hoitz & Gamble battle the boredoms of office life while watching the precincts superstars (portrayed to tongue-in-cheek perfection by Samuel Jackson & Dwayne Johnson) hog the headlines and glory. When a perp chase goes wrong and the heroes are lost – it’s up to the other guys, Hoitz & Gamble to solve the city’s crimes. Enter David Ershon (Steve Coogan – Tropic Thunder), a buffoonish but loveable money manager embroiled in a scheme to bilk billions out the state and guarded by a CIA style hit squad that’s seemingly conflicted with protecting or killing him. The detectives follow a series of gum drop clues on their way to solving one of the biggest cases in the city’s history.

What’s great about the film are its alternated references to truly great past cop movies. From clichéd explosions mocking the Lethal Weapon franchise, to its spin on the grit of daily cop life like The French Connection, the parodies of them all are executed with really good laughs. The visual transitions to show progression of a plot situation are inventive and vivid. The 2nd act includes a montage to a great night out with the boys and it is a true gut-buster. Hoitz’s character portrayed by Mark Wahlberg (Boogie Nights, The Happening) is a polar opposite of the tough Sgt. Dignam he portrayed in ‘The Departed.” Gamble, delivered insanely well (as expected) by Will Ferrell (Elf, Stranger Than Fiction). Ferrell’s character wrestles with a past as a business manager for ladies of the night, and his ability to deliver a performance of steady progression back to the dark side of that job is priceless.

An outstanding supporting cast round out the film including Eva Mendes (2 Fast 2 Furious) slinking throughout the film as Gamble’s wife Sheila. A buxom successful doctor who seemingly enjoys a life of cow-towing to Gamble’s excessive and unrealistic home-life demands. Even through the subterfuge of misguided affection on his part, the two still manage to produce a believable dynamic of a loving couple; and bless Sheila’s poor mother who is forced to courier a lurid series of exchanges for the two. Aged, but still on his game is Michael Keaton as the precinct Captain. It was refreshing to see him as a leader of men, but oddly eye-opening to see just how much he’s aged.

Past collaborator for Ferrell, Adam McKay helms this spoof on big action. He’s had plenty of experience with Ferrell having written, produced or starring in past hits like ‘Talladega Nights,” and “Ron Burgundy, Anchorman.” He does a fantastic job of tapping back into Ferrell’s talent and produces a genuinely perverse, likeable and rage filled fellow. You won’t walk away thinking you just saw the best buddy movie of the year, but you will get a surprise or two in the plot and a steady stream of gags and laugh lines. Stay in your seats at the conclusion to get a PowerPoint style slideshow of statistics on corporate greed and government tolerance.

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