From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Other Guys - C

Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language, violence and some drug material, 104 minutes

Mediocre "The Other Guys" strictly hit-or-miss

Well at least it's better than "Land of the Lost." That isn't much of a compliment if you know anything about that 2009 Will Ferrell turkey, though in fact it is a true statement. His latest film, the comedic cop buddy spoof "The Other Guys" is a better film even if most of it is forgettable, incoherently written and wildly hit-or-miss. While there are some amusing moments, it proves again that Ferrell either needs new material or is just plain overrated.

NYPD Detectives Christopher Danson and P.K. Highsmith (Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson) are the baddest, most beloved cops in New York City. Two desks over and one back, sit Detectives Allen Gamble (Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg). They're clearly "the Other Guys" in the background with little to offer. But every cop has their day, and Gamble and Hoitz stumble onto some high-level crime involving a seedy investment banker (Steve Coogan) who's close to stealing everything Gamble and Hoitz have worked for. It's up to them to save the day, though they may better off saving themselves first before someone gets hurt.

"The Other Guys" is a mediocre, flat comedy that ends up all over the map, throwing out as many gags and jokes as possible to see what sticks, which isn't much. It isn't hideously awful but then not terribly original, either. Ferrell’s bumbling man-boy goober character is the same one he plays in almost all his movies. This type of broad, physical comedy is seemingly both Ferrell's strength and weakness; it's funny for about 5 minutes but beyond that, it becomes very annoying.

This time his dweeb of a character drives a red Prius, listens to "LRB" (Little River Band), has a way of attracting hot women, including his ravishing wife (Eva Mendes, lovely but truly wasted) and calls his captain (Michael Keaton, also wasted) by his first name. This provides the easy set-up for most of the tired jokes that "The Other Guys" you’ve already seen in the trailers for the film: the bad cop-bad cop bit, the Wahlberg ballet dance and a run-in with one of Ferrell's former hot girlfriends (which is actually creepy and scary). The one genuinely funny bit has Ferrell explaining his former life as a college-age pimp.

As for Wahlberg, he is what you might expect: unfortunately miscast. He shouldn't give up his day job because he simply isn't that funny, which is painfully obvious next to Ferrell in a performance that ranks as one of his worst, proving only he can shout and break things on cue.

It doesn’t help that frequent Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay ‘s ("Stepbrothers" and "Talladega Nights") direction and script is lazy at best. It starts off with a clever prologue with Jackson and Johnson in hilarious form as the macho police guys Allen and Terry look up to, but their early exit is McKay’s biggest mistake with “The Other Guys.” A showdown between the men would've been the film's highlight, but instead we must tolerate a couple of lesser actors (Rob Riggle and Damon Wayans, Jr.) as the foes. In addition, a muddled, threadbare plot has the film veering off wildly and incoherently, excessively relying on what Ferrell does best – making an ass of himself - until it stumbles to a baffling conclusion amid bullets and flying papers.

Truth be said, I believe Ferrell is a decent comedian who would fare better with smarter material. "The Other Guys" will likely be a hit based on the bland Ferrell/Wahlberg teaming, but considering all that went into it, it’s a big disappointment.