The Other Guys
Buddy cop movies are about as fresh as day-old diapers, but every swingin' dick in Hollywood seems to feel like they can bring a "unique" perspective to the tired old formula and somehow put butt-cheeks in theatre seats on opening weekend. By now, the detective partner pairings have moved way past the good cop / bad cop cliché and instead ventured into squid cop / not a cop at all but actually a stay at home mom territory, with every boring shade of milquetoast wedged in between for good measure.
In "The Other Guys," director Adam McKay decides that it would be hilarious if Marky Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell teamed up to fight crime. I suppose intellectually this did seem like a comedy goldmine, sort of like if you matched Betty White with the corpse of Estelle Getty and then had them tag-team wrestle their way to the top of the WWE. Unfortunately, McKay also decided to load the movie down with side plots and supporting characters that don’t really make any sense at all, turning "The Other Guys" into a soggy mess well before the end credits roll.
Case in point: Michael Keaton as the placeholder Captain. Who moonlights at Bed, Bath & Beyond, for no reason at all. I guess that was funny on paper, because it certainly crashed and burned for the 5 minute interlude where our heroes encounter him at the local big box store. Even worse was the decision to have Keaton spew forth references to TLC lyrics and then pretend he didn’t know what anyone else was talking about when he was called on it. Yeah, you read that right. It’s like they purposely tried to make this movie seem dated the second it was released. Lisa Lopez has been dead for eight years now, for fuck’s sake.
Other amazing acts of comedic genius sprinkled throughout the film? Will Ferrell has a wooden gun. Whoa Nelly! He also used to be a pimp in college, before he was rescued from his downward spiral by nurse Eva Mendes, treating him for poison ivy in his anus. You don’t say! And wait – Marky Mark is a phenomenal dancer, but only because he learned the steps to make fun of losers in his neighborhood as a boy. Outstanding! It’s sort of like a Mad Lib of shit you might have found funny at sleep-away camp as a child, but grew out of if your career path didn’t take you deep into the underbelly of backwater comedy writing.
Although overall "The Other Guys" was a complete disaster, perhaps the most misguided aspect of its paper-thin plot was to have Ferrell and Wahlberg tackle a case involving the mis-investment of the police department’s pension fund. Apparently, the idea was to draw up a story angle that was even more boring than two space-faring trade federations that just can’t get along. The film's bizarre moralization continues on through the credits where we are treated to a slideshow illustrating pay inequality between management and labor as well as various tax and bailout information related to the most recent recession. It’s like PBS paid for the right to fuck up the last 10 minutes of the movie and make you feel guilty for ever wanting to participate in the American Dream – whatever that might be. According to Will Ferrell’s character, it has something to do with "pimp juice."
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