Not just an"other" movie

Aug. 8, 2010, 8:59 p.m. | By Melodi Anahtar | 11 years, 9 months ago

"The Other Guys" is a buddy-cop movie that delivers many laughs

Adam McKay's fifteen years of writing experience for Saturday Night Live (SNL) has paid off in his new movie, "The Other Guys." He is able to combine the traditional buddy-cop theme, a fair share of action, an underdog story and a corporate America setting into one summer hit that is first and foremost a comedy.

Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) is a New York City detective who has spent his career at his desk, voluntarily doing all of the grungy paper work for the rest of his squad. His partner Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), on the other hand, was a man of action until he accidentally shot Derek Jeter and was demoted. When two of the city's top detectives (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Dawson) can no longer serve, the field is wide open for Gamble and Hoitz, and together, the two cops try to become top dogs - but things get a little out of control.

If McKay had approached the movie in a different way, "The Other Guys" could have served as a purposeful satire on capitalism and fraudulent interests. Instead, the film feels as if McKay tried to focus on the relationship between Gamble and Hoitz, with jaunty corporation jabs in the background. However, it is as if McKay was juggling the concepts of a Ponzi scheme, masculinity and a budding bromance, but could not make up his mind; the main focus of the movie gets lost by trying to maintain all three at once. The one theme that is evident throughout is the concept of the underdog, which is tied in nicely to the beginning and end of the movie.

Considering the actors, the "underdog” track seems like the best route; neither Ferrell nor Wahlberg is a suitable match to play a character like Jack Bauer. Ferrell, for example, keeps the audience laughing with his series of punch lines throughout the movie. For Wahlberg, the movie is a great acting opportunity that allows him to show audiences his sense of humor with quirky recurring jokes and even a dance scene.

McKay's comedy experience is also evident throughout the movie. There are plenty of jokes that cause the audience to roar with laughter, but it seems that if some of the scenes were taken individually they could be SNL skits, especially when things get a little raunchy. Ordinarily in a movie, quick-changing SNL-style comedy would be an extreme turnoff, but "The Other Guys" manages to keep the audience entertained and maintain a plot. Unlike SNL, however, "The Other Guys" is not just a comedy. There are action scenes with guns, explosions, high-speed pursuits and fist fights incorporated into the movie, which allows it to stay true to its cop genre. Additionally, the fast-paced sequences add touches of humor but ultimately take away from the plot. At times the flick is slightly reminiscent of "Rush Hour," with spans of humor or character development accompanied by flashes of Hollywood action.

McKay does manage to include many varied, well composed shots in the film. There are good transitions between the many close-ups of dialogue and shots that help set the scene. Many of the frames accommodate both Ferrell and Wahlberg at the same time, but are done from different angles and distances, which prevents the movie from looking like a moving waist shot.

On the whole, "The Other Guys" is a summer comedy that is worth the watch. The political play on Wall Street is an aspect that is not normally explored in comedies and is a welcome change of pace. Even though the focus of the movie does not seem completely agreed on, moviegoers will leave with a smile on their faces and fond memories of their favorite scenes.

The Other Guys (107 minutes) is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language, violence and some drug material. Now playing in theaters everywhere.

Melodi Anahtar. Melodi Anahtar loves anything having to do with science, music or TV. Her favorite vacation spot is the Dominican Republic and her favorite city is Boston (go Red Sox). She can usually be found wasting time in her room, either watching "Grey's Anatomy" or reading … More »

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