If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Okay, I'm finally giving you another review. Then again, it shouldn't be all that surprising because this summer has been really lackluster and to the good advice of my go-to critic, C. Robert Cargill, I have managed to steer clear of most of the average-to-God awful summer films. It's just disappointing to see so many stinkers this year, especially compared to the last two summers. Now, is The Other Guys more like Anchorman and Talladega Nights than Step Brothers? Since all four films are from the same team, well read on to find out what I think.
In New York City, Detectives Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Danson (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) are the top cops. The alphas, the badasses, or as what Sam Jackson's character in Pulp Fiction would call them: the bad motherfuckers. But, while being the superstar cops that they are, they do tons and tons of property damage around the city that accumulates to millions of dollars. Meanwhile, Detectives Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) are more or less, the realistic side to the job: doing paperwork. While Gamble loves doing the paperwork, Hoitz is hoping for a chance to do the more awesome side to the job which involves investigating and chasing down criminals. At some point, Highsmith and Danson exit the film (I don't wanna spoil how) and everybody in the police force including Captain Gene Mauch (Michael Keaton) is wondering who will replace them as the top guys in the force. Along come Gamble and Hoitz who decide to take charge of an investigation involving business tycoon David Ershon (Steve Coogan). We are soon introduced to Gamble's wife, Dr. Sheila Ramos Gamble (Eva Mendes) as Gamble and Hoitz get further into the case and it gets to the point where she might even be at risk by going up against Ershon's people including Roger Wesley (Ray Stevenson). From then on, it's just your typical buddy cop film of these two unlikely partners trying to catch some really bad guys.
Now, for those of you who don't know, this is directed and co-written by Adam McKay, who also directed Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers. Here's the thing, I really like Anchorman, I don't love it but I thought that it had classic jokes and some very classic, iconic comedic performances from many of its actors. I'll also agree that Anchorman is probably one of the most quotable movies in recent years. Yet again, I really liked Talladega Nights but I didn't love it either. Without Sacha Baron Cohen in the movie as Jean Girard, I would've just thought that it was decent. But, I'm sorry, I absolutely hate Step Brothers. Sure, I like the man-child schtick like a lot of you out therebut to a certain degree. There are times when seeing a person play a man-child is gut-bustingly hilarious but then there are times where you just want to slap the actor in the face and say "Would you shut the fuck up please for one minute?" That's what Step Brothers was like for me, I just wanted to slap the sh*t out of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. Part of me feels that Ferrell learned something from Zach Galifianakis after he saw The Hangover, met him and Zach gave him more direction to being more tolerable as a man-child. Like, Zach Galifianakis's performance in The Hangover is probably the perfect man-child performance I've ever seen. But, back to The Other Guys.
I really like this movie. Much like Anchorman and Talladega Nights, I didn't love it but it had enough laughs to keep me entertained for an hour and fourty minutes. Although, I'm still confused whether it was supposed to be more like an actual buddy cop movie or a spoof of the genre or hell, maybe even a mix of both because there are moments in here where they make fun of typical buddy cop movie clichés and turn them completely on their ear. But, I have to tell you every actor here brings their comedic A-game to the table. But, at least for me, the weirdest thing is that Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell's characters were the least interesting of the bunch. I found particularly Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's characters to be the most fascinating. In fact, I would love to see a spin-off (maybe) or even just a stand-alone movie about Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson being partners in the police force, that would AWESOME!
I also have to add that thank God that Eva Mendes is finally in a GOOD movie that I've seen, at least in the past couple of years. I'm not saying that she's particularly that great of an actress but I think she is a step or two above such schlock actresses like Jessica Alba or Katie Holmes or even Katherine Heigl. I mean, Katherine Heigl hasn't made a really good movie since Knocked Up and she called the movie "sexist" even though I can't see or even remember anything in that movie that was sexist at all. Then again, everybody thinks that she's crazy anyway. She calls Knocked Up sexist but she's praising movies she's been inlike The Ugly Truth or 27 Dresses which are considered some of the most sexist romantic comedies recently. But, that's for another time, maybe.
Another thing that I liked about this movie was that I actually think that they had a real story planned out unlike Adam McKay's previous three films which almost felt completely improvised. But, aspects of the story also make the film a bit flawed. There were points where they were talking about the case and I actually got confused about what they were talking about. Maybe it was partly because they talked so fast that I lost track in the conversation. I understand that a rule or guidelineof comedy is that you should always talk faster because it makes the jokes all the more funny but when it comes to exposition, the key thing about it is that you talk slow so the audience can take in what's being explained. That's what worked so wellwith Inception's exposition scenes, while it seemed like they were quickly explaining almost everything about the dream world, the scenes were always paced and executed slower so the audience could take it in and settle it in their cerebellum so they wouldn't ask any questions when the actual plot was being executed.
All I have to say about Michael Keaton is that he's had a really good year. He's made really great roles out of some decently written (or improvised) characters. He already made himself one of the best parts of Toy Story 3 as Ken and now he's turned in another great comedic performance as the police captain, I mean he steals every scene that he's in. Then again, it's not that surprising since before he became the first big-screen version of Batman, he was the star of movies like Mr. Mom and Beetlejuice. While, I didn't like him as Batman, I think that's he's a really good actor and that's the thing with most of the people that have played Batman. While I didn't think that Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, or George Clooney were the right actors to portray Batman, particularly in a more serious fashion, they have blown me away in other roles. Still, if there's a reason to see this movie besides Ferrell, Wahlberg, Jackson, or Johnson, it's Michael Keaton because he fucking owns in this movie and I think he should be doing way more stuff.
While, I don't think it will become iconic like Anchorman or Talladega Nights particularly when it comes to Will Ferrell comedies, I will say that this movie is really worth seeing especially in a summer where great summer movies are a bit hard to come by. Now, is this the best comedy of the year? Hell no. As far as I'm concerned, Hot Tub Time Machine still holds that title and probably will unless Due Date with Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis turns out to be funnier than The Hangover and Hot Tub Time Machine combined. Everybody from Mark Wahlberg to Eva Mendes to Steve Coogan elevates the comedy to higher level but it wasn't enough to say that it's the best comedy of the year. Still, this movie comes recommended from me especially for anybody who is a fan of buddy cop movies.
Rating: High Matinee!