I hate to poo poo on the parade of admiration that has come for the latest buddy cop comedy The Other Guys, but I honestly have no idea what people are seeing in it. While certainly better than this year’s similar send-up of buddy cop action movies, Cop Out, it’s little more than another overblown Will Ferrell comedy, complete with bad acting and overdone jokes.
What do I mean by “overdone jokes,” you ask? Well, The Other Guys is a certain type of comedy film that likes to make a joke early on and then bring it up repeatedly throughout the rest of its runtime, a running joke if you will. There are at least seven or eight jokes that are made and then remade and then remade again, but, with the exception of one humorous TLC reference, none are funny the first time, much less the third or fourth. The jokes in this movie are like Ferrell’s career. They just won’t go away.
Everyone’s favorite overrated comedian Ferrell plays Allen Gamble, a cop working a desk job in New York with his partner Terry Hoitz, played by Mark Wahlberg. They essentially work for the star cops in the force, P.K., played by Samuel L. Jackson, and Christopher, played by Dwayne Johnson, because after they complete a job, the two are tasked with filling out the required paperwork. However, they are about to get their chance to go out and do some real police work when an accident leaves P.K. and Christopher splattered on the sidewalk.
It’s difficult to review comedies because humor is subjective. What is funny to some may not be funny to others. It’s not as easy as saying whether or not a film is funny, but rather you must explain why and I'm in the minority on this one because I can’t stand Will Ferrell. Despite a funny stint on “Saturday Night Live” and a couple of decent supporting roles in movies like Wedding Crashers and Old School, he has failed to win me over.
The biggest issue I have with the man is the way he delivers his lines. He never fails to go remarkably over-the-top in his performances, taking a simple joke and elaborating to an unfunny extent. He goes on and on and on with no signs of letting up, masking his sarcasm and wit with monotony and annoyance. He tries so hard to make the audience laugh that it becomes depressing. Instead of letting the jokes flow naturally, he seems to force them in when they don’t belong. Will Ferrell is not a good comedian.
My reaction to Ferrell in this movie is expected, but I hoped that his performance would be rectified, or even complimented, by Mark Wahlberg’s clashing personality. Unfortunately, this matrimony was not meant to be. Wahlberg does little more than yell for close to an exhausting two hours of film and I can only imagine that his blood pressure had elevated quite a bit by wrap-up.
So we’ve established that half of the equation fails in this action/comedy romp. Well, so does the other. The action, which is ramped up tenfold in the last block of the film, is poorly staged and boring to watch. Director Adam McKay, the man responsible for the equally unfunny Ferrell movies Step Brothers, Talladega Nights and Anchorman, isn’t accustomed to filming action scenes and stumbles when trying to depict one.
There’s no excitement, laughs or fun to be found in The Other Guys. It’s sad because there’s a funny movie in there somewhere. You can see that some thought went into its writing, but the actors playing it out simply aren’t game. Neither Ferrell nor Wahlberg do a good job of fleshing out their respective roles as dimwitted dork and abrasive tough guy. Of course, this review will do nothing to stop the tide of Ferrell fans from flooding the theaters this weekend, try as I might, but if I can convince even one person that the man isn’t funny, I’ll have done my job.
The Other Guys receives 1.5/5