There is no avoiding the fact that last week I went on record in this same space and guaranteed "The Other Guys" (not to be confused with the FOX television show starring Colin Hanks and Bradley Whitford called, "The Good Guys") would be worth your cash. And mine.
I was in Boise, Idaho for a wedding over the weekend and took a pal with me to see it; I paid for his ticket as well, so I at least put my money where my mouth is.
He paid for the concessions and I am not exaggerating when I tell you he bought two sodas and a small popcorn for a grand total of $17. Concessions have to be one of the most profitable goods on the planet, don't they? It doesn't matter if you are in Boise, Los Angeles, or Juneau. Unless, that is, you wise up and check out the Gold Town Nickelodeon from time to time (for $17 you could feed a family of four).
Back to "The Other Guys" and whether or not my guarantee was solid. Actually, you have to read to the end to find out. There might even be an M. Night Shyamalan twist coming. Maybe I'll reveal at the last second that I wrote this review while I was in Boise, not Juneau, and that in Boise there is a wind coming from angry trees that makes you kill yourself. Seriously, that guy sucks.
By the way, these unnecessarily long tangents are simply a shout-out to one Mr. Will Ferrell. These movies that are written and directed by Ferrell-buddy Adam McKay ("Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," "Step Brothers") require Ferrell to be any good. If McKay has learned anything it is to let his star loose. Ferrell is the source for the vast majority of the laughs in McKay's movies. Often what winds up on screen is Ferrell - in this case as Detective Allen Gamble of the NYPD - taking what might be a single line and turning into a three-minute monologue. More often than not the result of that is an audience laughing its collective ass off.
Playing off of Ferrell's Gamble, a nerdy accountant turned detective, is Mark Wahlberg as the hot-tempered, disgraced (thanks to accidentally shooting Derek Jeter) Terry Hoitz. Fairly early on, Hoitz rips into Gamble, telling him that if they were in the wild, Hoitz would be a lion and Gamble would be a tuna. Hoitz the lion, he says, would swim out to Gamble's tuna and eat him.
Then, it is Ferrell's turn to be Ferrell. Gamble calmly explains to Hoitz why that analogy is idiotic and after a couple minutes he has told his own tale of a school of tuna that have not only killed Hoitz's lion but now thirst for more lion. They are building breathing apparatuses out of kelp and hunting lion on land. And it's Hoitz's fault! I laugh so hard at these sequences that I genuinely wonder how actors like Wahlberg are ever able to complete a take without laughing at Ferrell.
McKay's movies rely on these moments that Ferrell provides. "The Other Guys" has plenty of them, and Wahlberg does the best thing he can - not get in the way. Michael Keaton is a welcome addition as their accidentally TLC-referencing captain, and Eva Mendes is sure pretty. Oh, sorry. She plays Gamble's wife and the joke there, of course, is that Hoitz cannot fathom why she is with Gamble. The action sequences are boring and the effort to make the plot seem appropriate for today's economic woes strikes me as misguided.
Honestly, though... who cares? "The Other Guys" is funny. That is all I was hoping for.
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