MPAA Rating: PG-13/Genre: Buddy Cop Action-Comedy/Stars: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Ray Stevenson, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Lindsay Sloane, Natalie Zea, Rob Riggle, Damon Wayans Jr., Viola Harris, Rob Huebel, Brett Gelman, Bobby Cannavale, Andy Buckley, Ben Schwartz, Adam McKay, Zach Woods, Chris Gethard, Zoe Lister-Jones, Michael Delaney, Tess Kartel, Anne Heche, Horatio Sanz, Thomas Middleditch, Derek Jeter, Brooke Shields, Rosie Perez, Tracy Morgan, Monty Sopp, Brian James; Narrated by: Ice-T/Runtime: 107 minutes
I think it is safe to start this review off by saying that the film I am reviewing today, 2010’s The Other Guys is one that hedges all of its bets on a particularly novel and intriguing plot only to give us a film that is not bad, but could easily have been a lot better. Indeed deciding to poke some fun at the super cop movies from a long time ago, this 2010 slice of cinematic pie from the dynamic duo of Will Ferrell and film helmer Adam McKay is one that presents us with quite the intriguing collection of questions starting with just who in the world are all those other cops who are always milling around the precinct while the hero cop is going out, kicking bad guy butt, and dispensing with some ice cold justice in the best way possible? Indeed are these other cops other super cops who just didn’t get the chance to save the day that time for whatever reason? Is the heroics and the phenomenal devotion to the job something only a handful of cops possess or do police units the world over train all new officers in making their vehicle pursuits cinematic and their shootouts like something out of a video game? Is every officer blessed with having an otherworldly gun that no matter how many bad guys they mow down never in need of reloading or are they only given to a select few who manage to prove themselves worthy like Thor’s hammer, but in Glock form? Indeed if these are all questions you have found yourself asking during any police movie, with particular regard to the ones from the 80s like Cobra, then I promise you have found the film which will try its best to answer your questions. Indeed it might a flaw here and there, but by and large The Other Guys is a quite hilarious and engaging little slice of cinematic pie that I promise you should definitely check out if given the chance to do so.
The plot is as follows: Taking place in the bustling metropolis of New York City, The Other Guys opens as we see that the best cops in the NYPD, a dynamic detective duo consisting of Christopher Danson and P.K. Highsmith respectively, have just managed to nab some felons for possessing quite a bit of narcotics whilst also racking up quite a hefty bill for destruction to the city in the process. Yet this is not an issue for these guys since they’re the best of the best and their actions, though costly, have seen New York City become just a bit safer than it was the day before. Yet whilst these 2 super cops are highly regarded by the majority of their department including a desk-bound fellow detective by the name of Allen Gamble, there is one cop who doesn’t exactly see them in the highest regard. That of course being Gamble’s exasperated partner, one Terry Hoitz, who in the aftermath of accidentally hurting someone has been grounded and who would love nothing more than to get back out there and as far away from his partner as possible. However when things go awry, and there is a chance for someone new in the department to become the new “dynamic duo”, we witness as our heroes decide to take this opportunity to show that they have what it takes to be the best of the best in their department even if proving it means dealing with a seemingly dead-end investigation revolving around a wealthy man deciding not to get some necessary permits from the city. Thus with another cop duo wanting the spotlight for themselves, we see that Gamble and Hoitz must not only show they are good cops to their department, but to themselves as well as we soon that this seemingly dead end investigation results in them uncovering something which have ramifications throughout not only the NYPD, but in their professional lives in a way that could see them go from just two other guys in the background to the top cops in the city.
Now right off the bat it should be noted that this slice of cinematic pie manages to give us an engaging beginning that is such a blast and so brilliantly over the top that you will find yourself wondering if this film’s writers will be able to keep the film going at this level for the rest of its runtime. Of course it should come as no surprise to learn that the answer leans toward the negative in that respect, but in all fairness film leads Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg do manage to keep the overall film quite cohesive and in one piece even though the script loses a hint of luster and some jokes like Gamble having an almost supernatural knack for attracting gorgeous women or Hoitz making continuous references to flying peacocks start becoming quite repetitive to the point that they just aren’t funny after the 6th time they’re used on the moviegoer. At the same time, it should also be said that this film is also guilty of trying way too hard in certain areas especially when it comes to constructing a thorough narrative since the narrative in this operates more as a world for the film’s cast and crew to play out the comedy bits contained therein and it has the slow spots to prove it. Be that as it may be, the comedy in this is still fairly well done to say nothing of being a wonderful blend of low key and excessive thus giving this movie a wonderful equilibrium that, when partnered with the riveting action beats, helps to keep things in the film lively even in the moments where things are slower than perhaps they should be.
Yet even when things aren’t as good as they should be for this slice of cinematic pie, I can honestly say that this film’s cast does a wonderful job of keeping the movie together and evenly balanced until the humorous script and the premise is able to pick the load up once again. Indeed as our mismatched Mutt and Jeff cop duo at the heart of this story, Wahlberg and Farrell are terrific and have a wonderful chemistry together that’s so good that one can only hope the two are paired up again in a slice of cinematic pie that is most assuredly NOT Daddy’s Home or Daddy’s Home 2. Maybe they can do a sequel to this film where they have transformed into super cops and now find themselves dealing with their own hero-worshippers on the force who they view as being only good for just giving them a pat on the back whilst secretly placing a “Kick Me” sign there. To that end, it should be noted that the Wahlberg-Farrell dynamic duo is in top form in this film because the characters that they are portraying are such a mismatched pairing that the only thing they have in common is the fact that they aren’t really looked at highly by the other people in their department. Yet even with that in mind, this pair of gifted actors take their characters and do the absolute best that they can with them especially Ferrell who is so gifted at the art of deadpanning with this respective part that he actually manages to become the character fairly well. As for Wahlberg, he manages to match Ferrell step by step even though his character is both a bit more down to Earth and infinitely more eager to get the chance to show that the one mistake he has made in his career is not something that should be held over his head the rest of his law enforcement career. It also doesn’t hurt that our dynamic duo is aided immensely by a terrific cast of supporting players. Indeed Johnson and Jackson are terrific as the OG super cops of the precinct, Michael Keaton is amazing as the precinct’s stressed to the point of madness yet devoted to his officers Captain, and wonderful work is also provided by both Rob Riggle and Damon Wayans Jr. as the other duo who is vying against Ferrell and Wahlberg for their time in the spotlight. Suffice it to say then that for all the flaws this movie might have, the cast are more than willing to pick up the slack.
All in all it is worth noting that around the same time this slice of cinematic pie came out that we also got to witness iconic ViewAskewinverse film helmer Kevin Smith take a break from Jay and Silent Bob shenanigans to give us his take on the Buddy Cop subgenre of movie magic in the form of a movie called Cop Out that coincidentally (?) also had a narrative hook in the form of 2 cop duos trying to top one another while in the middle of solving a particular case. The reason this is worth noting incidentally is because, despite Smith’s particular filmography, The Other Guys is easily the better of this film duo due in large part not only to the more balanced comedy to say nothing of its better cast, but also because of a terrific tempo as well as a cast of characters who are better constructed and way more iconic. Put another way: The Other Guys comes realllyyyyyy close to being a genuinely great film whilst Cop Out is good, but was never meant to be anything but that. Sadly, this 2010 slice of cinematic pie from immensely enjoyable co-stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg is just not able to check those last few boxes necessary to become something truly great for this particular subgenre. Be that as it may be though, this movie is a fun, engaging, and incredibly well-performed slice of cinematic pie to be found here and it most assuredly is one that a wide variety of movie lovers are sure to enjoy time and time again. On a scale of 1-5 I give The Other Guys “2010” a solid 3.5 out of 5.