Wednesday, October 13, 2010

THE OTHER GUYS - Odd 'Cop-ple' Fun

Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Dwayne Johnson, Lindsay Sloane, Ray Stevenson and Steve Coogan
Director: Adam McKay
Script: Adam McKay and Chris Henchy
Time: 107 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)

Farrell and Wahlberg as Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz respectively

PREAMBLE: Will Farrell has been in a number of stinkers recently, like Step Brothers, Semi-Pro, Land of the Lost and Blades of Glory. In these, he seemed to be dogged by a string of bad scripts and lame casting.

Well, his luck has turned around with The Other Guys. Farrell's trademark gullibility and cluelessness has found a perfect foil in co-star Mark Wahlberg. In Wahlberg, he has odd-couple chemistry and the so-called 'bromantic' sparks to keep us in stitches.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? There are cop heroes of New York City like Detective Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Danson (Dwayne Johnson) who would think nothing of smashing up cars and buildings just to nab a bunch of drug dealers. They cause millions in damage just to retrieve a few hundred bucks' worth of dope. However, they are the cops the mayor pin ribbons on and reporters write about.

And then there are the Other Guys like police accountant Allen Gamble (Ferrell) and his partner, Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg) two pencil-pushing law enforcers who are the laughing stock of the precinct. Allen is too chicken to go out in the field but Terry, who has a history of shooting some celebrity, just can't wait to get back in action. When they 'stumble' into some big-time fraud involving billionaire David Ershon (Steve Coogan), they go all out to investigate.

HITS & MISSES: Playing it as a goofball and screwball action comedy, writer-director Adam McKay (of Talladega Nights) forsakes logic and realism for for the laughs. Indeed, right from the start, when Jackson and The Rock Johnson poke fun at their own screen personae, the fun keeps piling up. Farrell's cop Allen is cowardly and nerdy, but he attracts the hot chicks and has a lusciously well-stacked wife in Eva Mendes (pictured) - a fact that puzzles Terry. The other guys of The Other Guys - like Michael Keaton, Coogan and Ray Stevenson - have surprisingly well-developed roles. Keaton plays the police captain who unwittingly quotes TLC's lyrics and moonlights at a department store while Stevenson (of TV's Rome fame) plays an Aussie tough-guy.

Of course, not all jokes hit their target but there are more hits than misses. These include the Allen-Terry version of 'good cop, bad cop' and Allen's college alter-ego as a pimp named Gator. Wahlberg is not really a comedian but his hot-tempered Terry 'bounces' off Ferrell so well that we look forward to more of their pairing.

THE LOWDOWN: One of the best odd 'cop-ple' comedies in a long time.


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