Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay have set a pretty high standard for comedies. They've succeeded in every project they've worked on together leading up to The Other Guys. Mark Wahlberg joins them, playing a tough-guy cop forced to a desk after he shoots Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees! Ferrell plays the bumbling idiot who loves sitting behind a desk all day. The comedy is in the two characters' differences, and craziness ensues. Let's get started.
What I liked about the movie:
Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg chemistry
Wahlberg delivers... for 2/3 of the movie. His tough-guy cop character (who secretly loves to dance) is hilarious. Sudden outbursts of anger with Ferrell on the receiving end were great.
Will Ferrell is playing, yet again, the absent minded moron. There are a lot of scenes where Ferrell is the awkward schmuck in the room; his fellow officers get him to shoot his gun off at his desk, making him believe its tradition. Funny stuff.
The Supporting Actors
Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson are by far the funniest aspect of the first 15 minutes of the film. Their satirical look at cops and the way they're portrayed in movies is terrific. They play on every stereotype, all the way to their demise.
Rob Riggle and Damon Wayans Jr. are their replacements and do great! There is a scene where Riggle's character fights Wahlberg's character during a funeral ceremony. They roll around on the ground fighting, while only whispering as to not disrespect the family of the fallen officer. This was so funny; I was laughing so hard during this scene.
Then there is the immortal Michael Keaton. Keaton plays the captain of the police force, but the force doesn't pay enough to send his bisexual son to college. So Keaton gets another job at Bed, Bath and Beyond to help pay for his son's school. Throughout the movie, Keaton's character uses the titles of TLC songs to explain what he's thinking. The funny thing is that Keaton doesn't know they're TLC songs! He was great.
What I didn't like about the movie:
The story is pathetic at best. I follow director Adam McKay's tweets on Twitter and he talks a lot about his political views. This is all fine and dandy, but don't make it the plot of your movie just because it's something that interests you. The plot is so dumb, so preposterous, it leaves no reason to care about the characters. It's all about corporate, white-collar crimes. That's great, because it's relevant, but it doesn't make for a good story for a comedy, especially when it reaches the pinnacle of stupidity. The state lotto is about to get taken for 32 billion dollars? Come on. The police department giving up it's entire pension to invest in a scam? Come on!
The sad thing is, it looks like this is a direct contradiction of the comments I wrote above, but it's not. I told you about Wahlberg being funny 2/3 of the movie. Well, the last 1/3 he was just straight-up annoying. There was no arc to his character, no growth of any kind. Same goes for Ferrell's character. He was a bumbling idiot to start the movie, and he was a bumbling idiot to end it. I was really disappointed in that.
Adam McKay/ Genre
I've seen actors and directors alike do this: try a genre for the first time, and it fails. It hurts me to say this, but McKay failed, big time. The action sequences are bad, the pacing was really bad, and the story was really really bad. McKay couldn't decide what genre it was: Comedy? Action? Corporate satire? Political satire? Law enforcement satire? What was it? Also, there were bits that should have never been in the movie, nor dragged out as long as they were. Case in point, the grandma crossing the street bit. You'll see.
The Other Guys wasn't good at all. I left the theater feeling let down more than anything. Maybe McKay and Ferrell's formula for success has already reached its maximum potential. Maybe this was a good movie, but they've set the bar so high, anything less is considered bad? Well, my opinion stands. The movie is bad, underachieves and loses itself amongst too many genres for its own good. It's OK, I have faith McKay and Farrell will bring the goods on their next project together. Hopefully that project is Step Brothers 2!