The Other Guys comes out of nowhere, it’s funny, then a bit too long, and then over. Like sex with a clown.* Its plot and characters are not as carefully constructed as those of Anchorman, which is from the same team and is better than I’d ever give it credit for in polite society. However, if you enjoy Will Ferrell’s ‘I’m talking loudly so this is a joke’ style of comedy then you’re in for a treat.
Ferrell plays Allen Gamble, a desk jockey New York detective, despised by the rest of the department and resented by his partner Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg). They get the opportunity to raise their status when they stumble across a case involving financial corruption and the kidnap of investment guru David Ershon (Steve Coogan). The pair have to take the initiative as no one believes that there is any conspiracy to investigate, but as things escalate the stakes get higher and the plot somehow takes a back seat to the action in what becomes, if you’re trying to pay attention, a mildly unsatisfying experience. Like sex with a clown whose mind is elsewhere.
Of course the filmmakers don’t think that anyone’s going to care if the events become confusing and ultimately superfluous. This isn’t a drama and, apart from a couple of deliberately overblown sequences, it’s not an action movie either. It’s a comedy that works to Ferrell’s talents, which are namely behaving like a socially stunted manchild and gurning a bit. At times it’s like watching a bunch of character sketches cut together into one continuous strip, as there are running gags and just enough comedy potential to hold the whole thing together, but you wouldn’t want to see a sequel.
Steve Coogan is just as unfunny and out of place as he has been in every Hollywood movie I’ve seen him in, and I can’t wait for him to come back home, have some milk and a haircut and then get on with making more Alan Partridge content. Wahlberg is actually pretty competent in his pseudo-comedic turn, although his character derives humour from being loud and angry, which alongside Ferrell’s loud and confused act makes for a pairing that lacks dynamism. Like sex with a clown while dressed as a clown. †
I enjoyed The Other Guys, and there are some pretty clever jokes in amongst the still funny but less demanding material, so you’ll probably enjoy it as well. But it’s not essential viewing, and you may as well wait for it to arrive on pay per view or DVD.
Oh, I didn’t do a cod description of the leading actors. Wait…so Will Ferrell is a six foot three mahogany toddler, and Mark Wahlberg is a very handsome pug.
*I would imagine. Now stop thinking about how you’d go about it.
†Enjoying these, or upset? Let me know.