Lowdown: Two useless policemen hit something big.
The Other Guys is an actors’ film, for the simple reason its plot is is too fabricated and disjointed for any film to rely on. There is one actor overshadowing all the rest in this actors’ flick, and as a result you can sum up The Other Guys in just a single short sentence: The Other Guys is a Will Ferrell film. Is it a good Will Ferrell film, like Stranger than Fiction, or is it a bad one, like Land of the Lost? I am of the opinion it is somewhere in between, but sadly it leans more towards the nonsensical latter than the classy former. Which is another way for me to say that given its potential The Other Guys should have been much better.
The plot follows a very simple line that we’ve seen many times before: two New York policemen partners (Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg), each with their own issues and both ridiculously useless. Ferrell’s uselessness is in him trying to avoid action by investigating accountancy allegations, but one day his investigations accidentally land him on a big rich whale (Steve Coogan) causing our pair to be in too deep in action.
That’s it for the plot; the rest of the film’s almost two hour long duration (for the record, we watched the Blu-ray's extended version) is dedicated to gags and improv like jokes adding flair to the characters. It starts with depicting our heroes as “the other guys” when compared to the truly awesome cops represented by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson, but the latter die of their own stupidity leaving the stage to Ferrell & Co; theoretically, this could have been nice premises to base a film on: the two useless guys suddenly having to prove themselves in the heat of battle as jokes fly around. The point, however, is totally wasted on and in between meaningless gags of the usual extreme Ferrell type.
There are other big name actors doing their round of jokes, too. Michael Keaton plays a police chief working a second job so he can financially maintain his bisexual son, and Eva Mendes plays Ferrell’s extremely hot wife of an extremely not hot geek. It would have worked if the gag wasn’t overstretched as much as it is, but then again that is the story of this film: it has some funny moments, some very funny moments; but in between it is nothing special and if anything it’s too silly.
What I can say in praise of The Other Guys is that this is a film with a definite social agenda: through a heroes and villains that mirror GFC events it openly criticizes the society that allowed the GFC to take place in the first place, the big bankers that had to be rescued with public money they never bothered returning, and the politicians that let them do so. It’s a statement worth making, but it doesn’t really work when attached to a Will Ferrell crazy show.
Best scene: It’s odd, it's unique, but The Other Guys’ closing credits with their documentary like run of GFC facts is by far the most interesting scene in the film and the best ever utilization of credit time.
Technical assessment: Isn’t it good to watch a Blu-ray again after a long break! What a difference good picture and sound can make. Indeed, the picture on this Blu-ray is pretty good with the exception of a few indoor scenes where colors are all over the place. Sound wise, other than the opening scenes featuring the soon to be dead Jackson & Johnson with ultra aggressive sound the rest is pretty ordinary. The Other Guys is saved by its music soundtrack: the action scene featuring The White Stripes’ Icky Thump would simply not work without the tantalizing tune.
Overall: A miss at 2.5 out of 5 stars.