There’s always some excitement when a new buddy cop action comedy comes in our direction. They might not bring anything we haven’t seen before, but you’re either going to wind up becoming the next Lethal Weapon or Cop Out. And you do not want to be what’s has been described as Kevin Smith’s least popular film. But in the same year, we had The Other Guys to put that other one out of our misery since it turned out to be hilarious all the way through.
What’s the Story: Detectives Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) work for the New York City Police Department, but are the casual desk-jockeys who stand around in the background and never get their hands dirty unlike those who go out and deal with the action with Danson (Dwayne Johnson) and Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson). One’s a boring forensic accountant who loves completing paperwork while the other hopes to get back on the streets after mistakenly shooting Derek Jeter in the leg, leaving him with a reputation. After stumbling upon a big case involving billionaire investor Sir David Ershon (Steve Coogan) turns out to be bigger than expected, this opportunity allows them to prove themselves to everyone else to get the job done.
The Other Guys marks the fourth collaboration between co-writer/ director Adam McKay with star Ferrell after working together before with Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers; all comedies I enjoy. Hearing about them teaming up again is enough to know it wouldn’t be a waste of time. And when you have the combination of McKay and Ferrell, you already know what to expect. With this 2010 buddy comedy, it was better than expected. This takes the combination of Step Brothers and Cop Out together, making something even cooler than it has every right to be. Having a story focusing on the cops we see in the background and it’s their time to step up and become big shots, almost like what life would be like if it forces the supporting players to rise to the top. And this where it doesn’t become silly when a satire of the genre similar to the level of something like The Naked Gun, but McKay’s direction made it more grounded in not taking itself seriously.
The pairing of Ferrell and Wahlberg was an interesting choice to see them side-by-side, and they succeeded with some good chemistry between each other. Both of them don’t get along with each other when they’re in this case, and having to learn about their backgrounds more doesn’t make matters better. They played well against each other. It was rare to see Ferrell play it straight for most of the movie, where he rarely goes over-the-top with his performance. In recent years after this came out, it was difficult seeing one of my favorite comedic actors being in a ton of dumps, but this is one of his best comedies by far and of the entire decade. His backstory about how he was, basically, a pimp in college is brilliant and how he made to keep that side intact later on in his life.
And I have to give a lot of credit to Wahlberg since this was a funny side to him we haven’t seen before. He appeared briefly in Date Night a few months before, but he’s one of the main stars this time, and I couldn’t get enough of him because the comedic chops he showed off paid off. His character, Terry, suffers from anger issues after what he’s been through from the shooting incident to getting his ex-girlfriend back but wants everything with this life to get better. These two characters are likable enough to get them through whatever comes their way.
“I am a peacock! You gotta let me fly!”
But whenever you have two funny leads, they need to be supported by everyone else and not to be wasted, which is why the rest of the supporting cast worked out well. You can never go wrong with Michael Keaton as the guys’ boss, Captain Mauch, who also moonlights at Bed Bath & Beyond. We all missed the guy back then. Eva Mendes was not only gorgeous but had subtle screen presence as Ferrell’s wife, Sheila Gamble, who doesn’t even notice how hot she is and thought of her as a plain Jane. And even though Johnson and Jackson only appeared in the first act as Danson and Highsmith, resorting to just being a funny quick appearance, they were still badass and plays the type of cliched, confident heroes we’ve seen already, especially during the opening chase sequence.
Even after ten years to prepare writing this review, I found this hilarious, and I already knew this would not be gunning for an Oscar. Those who are the less fortunate ones who have no sense of humor with anything associated with these guys (why?) probably won’t get much out of it besides a few chuckles. All I wanted from this was to be funny, and it was. There were two moments I couldn’t stop laughing at. The first being the “bad cop, bad cop” routine when Ferrell was going crazy, and the other being that conversation early on with the lion vs. tuna that didn’t go the way I thought it would go. This also made a good point about how there’s no way of walking away from explosions and not getting hurt. The one running gag I liked that wasn’t used too much, at least for me, was when Keaton was quoting TLC songs without him having no clue of what he’s referencing. And I thought the action, while not great, was well-crafted, considering it’s supposed to have us not expect anything like this to happen to these characters as the story rides along. Would you expect a shootout or a car chase with a helicopter involved? Why not?
Not all the jokes lands since it might’ve gone on a bit longer than usual, and the plot surrounding the investigation with Coogan’s character wasn’t very interesting when most of its audience wouldn’t care for the Ponzi scheme situation going on. Looking back at it now, I don’t fully get it and kind of makes the last half stretch a bit. Around the time this was released in theaters, it was my favorite comedy of 2010, replacing Get Him to the Greek. I was really hoping there would be a sequel, but instead, we see our two stars reunite again with Daddy’s Home and its awful sequel. The world hasn’t been kind.
The Other Guys don’t get talked about as much anymore, and it really should since it totally deserves to be looked at as an underrated action-comedy. McKay was able to poke fun at the tropes we see in buddy cop movies and made it hilarious, all thanks to the performances from Ferrell and Wahlberg. Along with their previous efforts, this fits right in when never missing a beat to make you laugh. If you’ve been missing out on a pleasant movie that doesn’t make you feel bad for Ferrell as a comedic star, there’s no wasting time if you check this out.