Adam McKay | 103 mins | TV | 2.35:1 | USA / English | 12 / PG-13
The Other Guys sounded like a great concept; so great I overlooked the fact it’s from the director of the massively over-rated Anchorman (as well as Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, which I’ve avoided because they look at least as bad) and stars the similarly over-rated Will Ferrell and variable-but-often-bad Mark Wahlberg. Turns out I should’ve paid attention to form: The Other Guys is pretty rubbish.
I don’t really know that there’s much point criticising it, because if you like this kind of film I have no idea if this one is good or not (as noted, Anchorman is apparently the pinnacle of modern US film comedy and I didn’t enjoy it), and if you don’t then — as I said — this one doesn’t transcend that.
The only point I have to make is what a shame that is, because the concept’s a fun one. The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson play a pair of cops who are, essentially, action heroes: they have dramatic explosive car chases along the streets of NYC, catch all the bad guys, and so on and so forth. But this is about The Other Guys — the regular cops who have to go about their regular business around them. And when the action heroes are killed, a pair of those Other Guys have to step up to solve their last case.
Except that’s not quite how the film pans out. It doesn’t trade on the idea of the Amazing Cops vs the Regular Guys enough, and that’s where the humour lies for me. Everyone loves The Rock and Jackson; no one likes Ferrell and Wahlberg; and they’re not assigned the case, they stumble upon it. Wouldn’t it have been more fun if everyone actually hated The Big Damn Heroes who make it hard for the regular guys to do their job? If a pair of normal detectives were assigned The Big Case and had to prove themselves worthy? Maybe even put the Super Pair in the shade, rather than killing them off in the first act?
What we actually get is not entirely without merit. There are funny moments and occasions when it plays decently with the premise. It’s quite a chore to get through though, so it almost amazes me that there’s also a longer unrated version. More? Oh dear. It’s overlong as it is. One reason to stick with it is that the best bit is the end credits, which are loaded with fun-ly-presented facts about the financial crisis. On the one hand it’s all depressing and/or angering, on the other it’s good to inform people, and one suspects the regular audience for this kind of comedy are not the kind of people who stay abreast of financial news.
A disappointing waste of a concept, then, but I’m sure some people loved it.