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Review: The Other Guys




I do not know who decided to have Mark Wahlberg lead a comedy by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, but God bless whoever made the genius decision.

Detectives Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Danson (Dwayne Johnson) are the pride of New York City, they are the heroes that are entrusted to hold down the fort when things go bad, and then there are Detectives Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg).

Gamble loves nothing more than to do the paperwork that Highsmith and Danson won't and Hoitz shot Jeter before game seven, they're known as the other guys.

Will Ferrell is traditionally funnier in his straight man roles and he is here as well. Gamble is the logical, play-it-safe partner we know from such action hits as Lethal Weapon, Dragnet, and Men in Black. Hoitz is the repressed action guy that lurks underneath all desk-bound detectives. This could have ended up like Kevin Smith's Cop Out, but Ferrell and McKay make the most out of this superbly funny and timely comedy that rivals most actioners in plot, effects and acting.

There is not a false note in this film at all. From the leads down to the bit players every single actor/actress in The Other Guys nails their roles. Whether it be Michael Keaton's weary police captain (who moonlights at Bed Bath and Beyond), Samuel Jackson and Dwayne Johnson's super cops who in the chase of a misdemeanor end up destroying about 12 million dollars worth of property, Rob Riggle's and Damon Wayan Jr.'s Martin and Fosse, Steve Coogan's slimy investment banker, or Ray Stevensen's "bad guy".

What I like about The Other Guys and what most critics won't give it credit for is that it is actually a pretty smart comedy. Adam McKay takes a tale of two cops investigating investment fraud and their superiors either keep grinding them down or ignoring their case. The problem with financial crimes is this: they are not sexy. But at the end of the day they cause the most damage on a global scale. (See the most recent economical collapse)

A few months back Steve Coogan compared The Other Guys to Hot Fuzz and I can't disagree with him. Both films are finely crafted action movie parodies that don't fall back into the recent trend of genre "parodies" like Epic Movie, Vampires Suck, and the rest of that garbage.

Every ripe cliche is there for ribbing: the cop with the insanely hot wife who he treats like nothing, the battered police captain, the excessive shooting with no one getting hit, the innocuous bribes that are brushed off, instantaneous ass-kicking skills that always appear when trouble is afoot, and everything else you would expect to see in an action film is poked fun at here.

***/****

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