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The Other Guys (2010)

A movie directed by Adam McKay

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Solid laughs and a more credible than usual Will Farrell character

  • Aug 16, 2010
  • by
I don't think I'm saying anything terribly controversial or original when I state that Will Farrell movies tend to be a mixed bag. His most beloved star vehicles TALLEDEGA NIGHTS and ANCHORMAN, feature many truly hilarious moments, but also moments that just seem a bit weird and random. Farrell and his friend/co-writer/director Adam McKay just can't seem to stop taking diversions that are little more than whims. Sometimes these random moments have a life and excitement of their own (Ron Burgundy playing the flute in a restaurant), others are simply head-scratchers.

It's a measure of how expensive THE OTHER GUYS must have been to make when I thought of how few of these quirky diversions Farrell takes. McKay & Co. have made a more straightforward comedy, one relying heavily on expensive action sequences...and thus must have felt a bit more constrained to sticking with a linear plot and not a series of sketches held together with a theme.

But it's also a measure of Farrell's talent that the film still feels fresh and offbeat. Farrell plays a police detective who is really just an accountant with a badge and gun. He works his desk and hums while typing on his keyboard. He loves to see others running to where the action is...and loves staying safely at his desk. He'd probably be happy doing this his entire career, except that he's also got a VERY reluctant partner (Mark Wahlberg)...a once up-and-coming hotshot cop who accidentally put a bullet into Derek Jeter, costing the Yankees a World Series. Wahlberg urgently wants to get back on the streets...and when NYPD loses two of its most famous cops (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson)...his desperate need reaches a boiling point, and he DRAGS Farrell out into the field. Unfortunately, Farrell's vehicle is a Prius, and it's very non-threatening profile generates some pretty funny wisecracks. ("I literally feel like I'm riding inside a vagina," says Wahlberg.)

It is very amusing to see Wahlberg making fun of his usual intensity. Imagine his character in THE DEPARTED almost totally neutered by a career blunder. He's got good timing, and creates genuine chemistry with Farrell. Eva Mendes is welcome as Farrell's wife...she's WAY too hot to be married to Farrell, yet Farrell's character seems to draw hot women to him. It's so non-sensical as to be quite funny...particularly in the way it perplexes Wahlberg. Mendes, in many films, consistently shows flashes of having some nice comic ability, but has yet to be truly challenged. THE OTHER GUYS doesn't challenge her either...her character is more of a device than a real person.

There are other nice supporting turns. Steve Coogan is always nice to see. Michael Keaton has a thankless role as the captain...but still gets off a few nice one-liners. Jackson & Johnson are hilarious (and their early scenes spoofing car chases and the mayhem they cause are pretty impressive). I must say, though, that I'd gladly never see Rob Riggle in a film again. Here and in THE HANGOVER, he plays obnoxious, toxic cops to virtually no comic effect. He's loud and amused with himself.

But the film belongs to Farrell. He once again brings his character who is outwardly calm but clearly seething with repressed emotions. But Farrell has dug just a little bit deeper here. He's tried to bring logic to his character, rather than simply serving comic needs. The turmoil he is roiling with seems genuine. I gather from interviews and such that Farrell is a fairly happy family man. But he also encapsulates what a lot of people feel, I think..the feeling of being trapped in a life that isn't entirely what one imagined when setting out in the world. He carries an inchoate rage. In Farrell's hands, this is mined for humor...but you can also imagine how quickly it could be mined for drama. He's a master at teetering between out-of-control and dangerously out-of-control.

There are a couple of Farrell & McKay's patented "random" moments. While drinking with Wahlberg in an Irish pub, Farrell frequently stops mid-conversation to sing verses in sad Irish songs while accompanied by an older chorus of Irish men. It's odd but somehow charming. But the film has many sustained jokes that continue to pay off. Coogan (as a Wall Street bad-guy) keeps putting off tough questioning by offering Farrell & Wahlberg tickets to Broadway shows. They accept and then beat themselves up later when they realize they've been bribed.

I laughed a lot. That's ultimately they key to my recommendation. But I certainly appreciate the fact that the filmmakers realized they had a good concept and gave it some meat. Farrell was allowed to create a fully realized comic creation, and was given a stellar supporting cast. Wahlberg was probably the best possible choice to play the partner...and although I hope it doesn't happen I can certainly envision a sequel.

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December 14, 2010
This is getting some pretty mixed reviews. Now I am really curious thanks!
November 13, 2010
I had completely forgotten about this movie- probably because I agree with you on the Will Ferrell tip, at times he can be hilarious and others....not so much. I would like to see Wahlberg's comedic side come out and really would've loved to have seen Mendes challenged. I'm going to have to add this to my Netflix! Have you seen The Landlord with Will Ferrell and his daughter?
November 13, 2010
Oh yes, I have INDEED seen The Landlord. HILARIOUS, as are the follow-up movies. At one time she plays a detective who interrogates Farrell. However, she is actually Adam McKay's daughter. (McKay is Farrell's friend and frequent writer/director of his films.)
November 15, 2010
Thanks for the correction- I had thought it was Will's daughter! I had heard that they stopped with the filming out of some kind of concern for her but, those follow-ups are great, especially the one with her as a detective!
More The Other Guys (2010 movie) reviews
review by . November 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Check out the extended trailers (geez, we've even got Special Editions of trailers now):            I saw this on a plane this week and practically splurted out coffee on the woman next to me when Samuel L. delivered the line: "If I wanna hear you talk, I'll shove my arm up your ass and work your mouth like a puppet!" Pure poetry.      In fact, you can pretty much skip the by-the-numbers plot and focus on the outstandingly …
review by . December 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
3 1/2 stars:
Throughout history there have been heroes, mighty heroes who have  rose up out of the shadows to defend humanity during there  darkest hours they have stood tall against oppression and hatred to become some of the most  recognizable names in history. These heroes are know far and wide for there heroic acts and selflessness   but what about the guys who do there job day  in and day out what about the guys who don't get there names in the history books or are adored …
Quick Tip by . April 17, 2011
Not as funny as some of Ferrell's other movies, but still worth a few laughs.
Quick Tip by . December 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Dull, dumb, and highly unfunny "The Other Guys" proves to be one of the weakest comedies of the year by far; this one joke film is a supposed spoof on the buddy cop genre. Spoofing such classics such as "Lethal Weapon" and "Rush Hour" but all this film does is deliver one cringe inducing joke after another, after another, after another, after another after... well I think you get the picture. "The Other Guys" suffers from what most comedies do these days, …
Quick Tip by . December 15, 2010
Will Ferrell continues his streak of incessantly unfunny movies with THE OTHER GUYS. The flick offers, at best, a few modest laughs and showcases a nearly completely wasted Mark Wahlberg as Ferrell's uptight partner.
review by . August 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Like Laurel and Hardy, like Abbot and Costello, like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are perfectly mismatched in the buddy cop film "The Other Guys," although outward appearances suggest this would not be the case. They could not be anything less alike, physically, behaviorally, or even professionally; Wahlberg, for example, has been nominated for an Oscar, and Ferrell ... hasn't. Despite this - or perhaps because of this - they play off of each other with the timing …
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Ranked #146
I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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About this movie


Two mismatched New York City detectives (Ferrell and Wahlberg) seize an opportunity to step up like the city's top cops whom they idolize -- only things don't go exactly  as planned.

Teaser poster art for "The Other Guys."

  • Opens Friday, August 6, 2010 | Runtime:1 hr. 47 min.
  • PG-13: crude and sexual content, violence, some drug material and language
  • Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg star as cops in this comedy directed by Adam McKay and co-written by McKay and Land of the Lost scribe Chris Henchy. Dwayne Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson, and Steve Coogan co-star.
    When a forensic accountant and a trigger-happy detective, both of whom idolize the city's top cops, get a chance to step up and improve upon their "B team" status, things don't quite go as planned.
  • Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Dwayne Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson
  • Director: Adam McKay
  • Genres: ComedyPolice Comedy

  • Although the comedy team of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg does not sound like a threat to Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello, they conjure up consistent laughs inThe Other Guys, yet another comedy fromTalladega Nightsdirector Adam McKay. Ferrell plays a mild-mannered police accountant partnered with Wahlberg's hothead (recently demoted to desk-jockey duty after shooting a very famous Yankee player during the World Series), and both men must endure the showboating fame of a pair of supercops (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson) in their New York City precinct house....
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    Director: Adam McKay
    Genre: Action, Adventure
    Release Date: August 6, 2010
    MPAA Rating: PG-13
    Runtime: 107 minutes
    Studio: Sony Pictures
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