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Aug062010

THE OTHER GUYS starts funny and ends preachy (review)

Rating:  (Passable)

Will Ferrell is a funny guy, and watching him play a 'character' is always enjoyable. If you like loud noises, people yelling at each other, and good physical comedy, The Other Guys provides them in abundance during its first half. Sadly, while it starts out hilarious, the movie slowly loses its funny in favor of bullets, car chases, explosions, and a stupid money laundering plot. There will be a lot of people who like this movie, but few will be impressed by anything in the last 45 of its 107 minute runtime. What happened? Did they just run out of ideas? I can't say I feel cheated or ripped off, but Will Ferrell and Adam McKay can do better. 

The Players

Will Ferrell is Allen Gamble, a cop that plays it straight. He sits in the office and does paperwork all day. No one on the force has any respect for him, but like Barry from Dinner for Schmucks, he's too thick to realize.

Mark Wahlberg is Terry Hoitz, a peacock that needs to fly free. He's stuck with at a desk with Gamble because he accidentally shot Derek Jeter during the World Series. (Thanks a lot, douche.) Hoitz has severe anger issues and thinks every crime is a drug ring. Everything about Allen Gamble makes him angry. Even Gamble's piss smells feminine to him. 

Samuel L. Jackson is P.K. Highsmith and Dwayne Johnson is his partner, Christopher Danson. They are the two most badass cops of all time. While pansies like Gamble and Hoitz sit in the office, these two do the real work, and drive an unending supply of 1972 Chevelle Super Sport muscle cars to their doom. They are the most confident cops to ever grace the NYPD and the city loves them. 

Michael Keaton is Gene, err the Captain. He has to hold down a second job at Bed, Bath & Beyond so his son can "go to NYU, explore his bisexuality, and become a DJ." Captain Gene Mauch is a realist; he don't go chasing waterfalls. It's good to see Keaton on a movie screen again. 

Rob Riggle is Martin and Damon Wayans Jr. is Fosse, his partner. These guys are jackasses. Their mission in life is to be better than Gamble & Hoitz and make fun of them at every opportunity. 

Finally, Steve Coogan is David Ershon. If that sounds like Enron, well, that's because he's a corrupt executive who's lost about 32 billion dollars of Pamela Boardman's (Anne Heche) money. Her company does everything. It's in oil, healthcare, finance, every other industry that has gotten greedy and screwed over the American people in the last decade.

Preaching to the choir

The best jokes come when Gamble and Hoitz first hit the road and get to know each other. They are both strange guys and have good comedic chemistry. Unfortunately, like so many cop movies, Director Adam McKay gets too caught up in the stupid crimes of Steve Coogan and the jokes suffer for it. By the last half, we're mostly watching car chases and gunfire, sprinkled with a couple jokes to ease the tension. What fun is that? It feels like every damn movie this year has car chases, and they're the last thing people really care about, or remember, in a comedy. The last half of The Other Guys is filler. 

And when the credits roll, we're treated to a bunch of political graphs showing how the 2008 TARP fund is a terrible thing. I don't necessarily disagree, but it's a bit arrogant to thrust politics into the ass end of a Will Ferrell comedy that never cared about politics until its credits rolled. If sending a political message amidst comedy was the goal, the script needs a lot of work because the message just ain't there.

Conclusion

If you like Will Ferrell, The Other Guys will make you laugh. Then it'll turn into a big action movie and drag on for a while longer. After the credits roll, you'll wish the film had ended a good half hour earlier. It's certainly better than Cop Out, but for real laughs, watch The Good Guys on Hulu. Now that's good buddy comedy.  

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