Will Ferrell is a guy who has had his fair share of misses that, some may argue, far outweigh his hits; however, he continues to roll with the punches, and remains one of the busiest, most recognized comedians working today. His collaborations with writer/director Adam McKay have produced some of Ferrell’s most successful pictures to date, including Anchorman, Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, and their reign as Hollywood’s comic tag-team champions continues with their latest film, The Other Guys.
The Other Guys stars Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz, two NYPD detectives who just can’t seem to catch a break. They’re the laughing stock of their department, with Gamble nicknamed “Paper Bitch” – due to his eagerness to please the force’s big shots, Highsmith and Danson (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson), by taking care of all the paperwork their high profile busts cause – and Hoitz is nicknamed “Yankee Clipper” for reasons that are best left for the movie to explain.
Hoitz is tired of being left in the shadows, and continuously cries out, “I’m a peacock, you gotta let me fly!” in frustration, as it always seems no matter how hard he tries, something goes wrong, and he finds himself back behind his desk. At the same time, he despises working with his partner, who seems entirely content with their placement in the office, and sees no reason why they should look to move forward. It isn’t until the pair accidentally stumble upon what may be one of the biggest conspiracies to ever hit the city that they take it upon themselves to finally try and be more than just the other guys.
The film marks the first time in all of Ferrell and McKay’s films that the story isn’t as absurd as all the jokes they try and shove into it, and that’s not a knock at their other films, but more of a compliment to this one. The Other Guys is actually an incredibly fun film to watch, as the story is a throwback to buddy cop films, and the plot is actually quite engaging. The characters aren’t one-dimensional jokes, and are actually well thought out, with backgrounds and characteristics that make them a hilarious combo that never gets old.
That’s not to say all the trademark, completely out of left field humour you’ve come to expect from Farrell and McKay isn’t here, as the film is boiling over with it. If anything, there’s so much of it, it actually slows the story down to the point where the pacing is thrown off somewhere in the second act; but at the same time, the jokes are so funny that you can see why they had trouble cutting any of them and you almost can’t fault them for it.
Buddy flicks don’t work if the chemistry between the main characters isn’t there, but every time Ferrell and Wahlberg are on screen together, sparks fly. With Ferrell, you pretty much know what you’re getting, though I’d argue to say this is some of his best comedic work to date. He plays the more laid back, and serious of the two detectives, and for good reasons that are also best left for the movie to explain. Wahlberg on the other hand isn’t a name synonymous with comedy, though after watching this movie, you may start to wonder why, as his timing is impeccable, his delivery fantastic and he’s not afraid to let it all hang out there in order to get a laugh.
One of the biggest surprises in the film is the work done by Michael Keaton as Captain Gene Mauch. His character is one that totally catches you off guard and ends up having some of the most memorable scenes and lines in the film. After all but vanishing from Hollywood’s radar in recent years, his work on The Other Guys is the kind that rejuvenates careers, and hopefully opens up doors for other supporting comedic roles in the future.
The Other Guys is the only film this year that needed an almost required second viewing just because I laughed so hard the first time around that I missed half the film. It’s also the movie I’ve found myself quoting the most out of any I’ve seen in the past couple of years, as it’s filled with so many one-liners, and memorable moments that you just can’t help but repeat them, even if they’re completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. That point is probably why the jokes worked so well in the first place in what is, in my opinion, easily the funniest movie of the year.
The video is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1, and the film looks great. The transfer onto DVD is solid, with characters, colours and surroundings all looking crisp. The audio is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital, and it sounds great. The dialogue is mixed with music, explosions, shootouts, and the usual assortment of distractions to be found in an action comedy, yet none of them make it inaudible, and the only real reason you’ll find yourself rewinding the film, or putting on the subtitles is because you keep missing jokes due to laughing so hard.
First and foremost, the DVD contains both the theatrical and unrated editions of the film. The unrated edition clocks in with an extra 9 minutes of footage, and after watching the deleted scenes found on the DVD, I can say that those scenes weren’t just shoved back into the film in order to make a few more bucks.
Having seen the original film in theaters, I opted to watch the unrated edition, and if I had to choose, I’d likely say that the theatrical version is better, simply because the additional scenes aren’t really vital to the film, and if anything slow things down and throw the pacing off even more. On the other hand, the unrated version (which doesn’t add anything that I noticed to warrant the unrated title over the extended title) is worth watching at least once, if just to see the extra two scenes added in: one involving Terry Hoitz going to see his girlfriend for a second time, this time at an art show; and the other being quite a funny scene added on to the end of the film that plays off of some of the earlier jokes in the film. In the end, which is better will be up to you, but you really can’t go wrong with either.
Crash and Burn! Stunt Featurette – This piece comes in at just over 10 minutes, and we hear from Mark Wahlberg, Will Farrell, Adam McKay and other crew members talking about the stunts involved in the film. It’s a quick featurette, but it covers a lot of bases, so it’s definitely worth checking out. On the other hand, it’s a quick featurette, and the only one that involves the main actors, so you almost want to see more as far as opinions and reactions went when talking about the film in general.
Deleted and Extended Scenes – There are five scenes here, and none of them are really worth mentioning. If, as I said earlier, McKay had a hard time cutting most of the jokes from the film, it’s no doubt he had an easy time cutting these ones. The only one that actually would have worked, is the final one “Quiet before the storm,” which likely could have been meshed into the unrated cut and worked perfectly fine; however, by this point in the film you can see they wanted to push the pedal to the floor and yell “America!” instead of slowing things down for a joke once again.
Bed, Bath & Way Beyond – This is roughly a four minute showcase of Michael Keaton in his Bed, Bath and Beyond motivational staff speech, and while it works perfectly the way it is, it’s too bad they couldn’t have at least cut the religion joke into the unrated edition, as it seems they had so much to work with (I believe McKay says they have about 30 minutes of this scene alone they could cut together) it could’ve added another layer of funny to the scene. At the same time, sometimes less is more, and it worked the way they did it, so don’t mess with a good thing.
The Other Guys is the funniest, laugh out loud film I’ve seen so far this year. Definitely check this one out if you’re in the mood for a good laugh, and if you’ve given up on Farrell after a few disappointing past outings, this is the film to give him a second chance with. Upon a second viewing, it still remains incredibly funny, and the chemistry between Farrell and Wahlberg just make you hope they figure out a way to make a sequel to the film that’s just as dynamic as the first, as hard as that may be.
Columbia Pictures Presents The Other Guys. Directed by: Adam McKay. Starring: Will Farrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson. Running time: Theatrical Version: 107 minutes/Unrated Edition: 116 minutes. Rating: PG-13/Unrated. Released on DVD and Blu-ray: December 14 2010.
Tags: Adam McKay, Anchorman, dwayne johnson, Eva Mendes, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Coogan, The Other Guys