Cockeyed and loaded buddy cops
The Other Guys 1/2
Starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes, Steve Coogan, Rob Riggle, Damon Wayans Jr, Dewayne Johnson, Samuel L Jackson. Written by Adam McKay and Chris Henchy. 107 minutes, rated M (violence and sexual references), showing at Reading Cinemas Porirua.
Ialways find reviewing Will Ferrell movies to be a tricky proposition – first impressions can be deceiving.
recall appraising Anchorman mildly as a hit-and-miss affair – I’ve now seen it at least 10 times and love it to death.
On first viewing, his fashionable villain in Zoolander grated the hell out of me, now I chuckle just thinking about Mugatu. And I’m pretty sure I deemed Talladega Nights to be absurdist genius – but on repeated viewing I’ve struggled to make it through 30 minutes.
Ferrell’s pictures are peppered with moments of sublime idiocy and quotable treasures, but his improv-heavy ‘‘ straight man to a buffoon in three seconds’’ schtick can go off the rails at any given moment. And a fan’s goodwill to forgive the missteps is often only as strong as the last act of lunacy.
It goes without saying, if Will Ferrell is not your cup of tea, best not drink from The Other Guys. And if you expect Samuel L Jackson and Dewayne Johnston to play major roles, prepare to be disappointed – they are only onboard for the set-up.
Ferrell plays Allen Gamble, a desk-jockey NYPD detective who loves the paperwork and staying out of trouble.
He’s partnered with Mark Wahlberg’s hot-headed Terry Holtz, who craves crime scenes and car chases, but committed career suicide the second he accidently shot a baseball star.
Desperate to prove his worth, Holtz pursues a case that gets them both in over their heads.
At times The Other Guys showcases Ferrell at the top of his game, hilariously drifting between square peg and raving lunatic. The dialogue is pretty sweet – I’d give a couple stars just for the ‘‘lion versus the tuna’’ diatribe, and Wahlberg is an inspired choice for a comic counterpoint, a parody of his work in The Departed.
But as the movie progresses, the gags get more desperate, attracting Naked Gun comparisons, and the stale mechanics of the action genre are more pronounced as the plot is hurried along.
Whether I’ll enjoy The Other Guys more or less the second time around is anyone’s guess, but at least I’m up for giving it a spin. I certainly couldn’t say the same for other recent buddy cop larks, Knight and Day and Cop Out.
I’m with stupid: Chemistry is key for Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in the often hilarious The Other Guys.