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Skippy Goes To The Movies! “The Other Guys” August 7, 2010

Posted by Skippy in Movies.
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Verdict: A thoroughly enjoyable and occasionally hilarious summer diversion.

Unlike the execrable “Dinner for Schmucks,” “The Other Guys” succeeds in being a good summer comedy. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the funniest cop satires I’ve seen in years. I’d say it’s like “The Naked Gun,” but that would be a bit incorrect. This movie is only like “The Naked Gun” in that it’s a send-up of the cop movie genre; however, this one is specifically a send-up of the buddy cop movie. Interestingly enough, much of the humor of “The Other Guys” comes not from physical humor, but wordplay. I appreciate a movie that can rely largely on verbal humor. That’s not to say that there isn’t physical humor; after all, Will Ferrell is in this movie—he’s a peacock and you have to let him fly. And so he does in a couple of insanely hilarious scenes.

The plot of the movie is fairly simple. Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) are two mismatched cops. Allen is a forensic analyst assigned to a desk job and Terry is a disgraced cop…the reason why? Well, just watch, m’kay? Let’s just put it this way; it’s a funny spin on the “disgraced cop” trope in cop movies that leads to a hilarious therapy session. Anyway, the star cops in the precinct are Highsmith (Samuel L. Motherfuckin’ Jackson) and Danson (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). They are the stereotypical jock cops and appear in the first part of the movie; I won’t give much away, but their exit is hilarious…but it leaves a void that must be filled.

Allen would be just fine sitting behind his desk, driving his Prius and listening to the Little River Band, and being married to his “ball and chain,” Sheila (Eva Mendes). Terry wants to be more and sees the void left by Highsmith and Danson as his Big Chance. Throw in a big case involving (what else is topical at this time?) corporate fraud and two other cops who are trying to step into Highsmith and Danson’s shoes (Damon Wayans, Jr. and Rob Riggle) and there you have the set up.

The writing is pretty tight; writers Adam McKay and Chris Henchy crafted a fairly coherent comedic script. They even give a plausible explanation as to why Allen refers to Sheila as a ball and chain and claims she isn’t as ridiculously hot as she is. What’s even better is that it doesn’t insult the audience. This movie knows exactly what it wants to be and doesn’t waste time developing subplots that go nowhere.

The acting is up to par for a movie of this sort. If you go see this movie, please be aware that you will not get an Oscar-winning performance from Mark Wahlberg.* He’s basically there to play straight man to Will Ferrell and to be the “bad cop” to Ferrell’s “good cop.” Ferrell himself is dialed down, and that’s a good thing. If he’d been too over the top, it would have ruined the movie. Also, Michael Keaton shows up as the captain of the precinct (he also has another job; again, why ruin the surprise) and is fairly effective.

All in all, this was a helluva lot better than “Dinner For Schmucks.”

*Also, is it me, or is Mark Wahlberg really short?

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