The Other Guys

Posted on December 14, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg make an inspired buddy cop pairing in “The Other Guys,” a rare comedy based on something other than snark or irony or insults or humiliation or high concept. This is that rarest of comedies — kept aloft by a delirious, surreal, irrepressibly sunny randomness, delivered with sincere conviction and all the funnier for it. In an early exchange destined to be memorized and repeated endlessly by fans, Detective Hoitz (Wahlberg), frustrated by being assigned to desk duty, tells off his new partner, Detective Gamble (Ferrell), who prefers the paperwork, using the metaphor of a lion devouring a tuna. Gamble comes back at him with a deliciously loopy monologue, taking the comment literally, and then, when Hoitz comes right back in on the same level, it reaches for the sublime.
Hoitz and Gamble work in a police precinct where two cops (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) get all the excitement, all the glory, and all the girls. That’s fine with Gamble, recently transferred from forensic accounting. But Hoitz, who likes to describe himself as “a peacock who needs to FLY!” is smoldering, furiously playing solitaire at his desk while other cops go out on all the exciting assignments. At a support group for officers who fired their weapons on duty, we find out why he was reassigned. Let’s just say he shot the wrongest guy imaginable.
When the two hero cops are out of the picture, Hoitz and Gamble step in, despite the competition from another team (Rob Riggle playing the frat boy part he always plays and Damon Wayans, Jr. looking like his dad) and the directions from their Chief (Michael Keaton). Of course, as in any buddy cop movie, there are detours to resolve some problems with the ladies (“You’re not a cop until your woman has thrown you out,” says Hoitz). And of course they will discover that they have more in common than they thought, including some anger management issues and interest in Gamble’s wife (a luscious and also very funny Eva Mendes).
There are some dull patches and misfires, especially a backstory about Gamble’s college years. But the action scenes are surprisingly dynamic and a sleazy Wall Street billionaire is played by the always-welcome Steve Coogan. (A brief, unbilled appearance by Ann Heche as another Wall Street type suggests there may be some good extras on the DVD.) And any movie with a police chief who does not realize he is constantly quoting TLC, a trip to “Jersey Boys,” a succession of hot women including Brooke Shields finding Ferrell’s character irresistible, a CD playing “Reminiscing” by the Little River Band, narration by Ice-T, and Wahlberg doing pirouettes qualifies as the funniest movie of the summer.

Parents should know that this movie has comic but graphic chases, explosions, gunfights, and punches with characters injured and killed, very strong language, crude macho banter, very explicit sexual references and non-explicit situation, prostitution, drinking, drunkenness, drinking to deal with stress, drug humor and brief drug use.
Family discussion: What did Gamble and Hoitz have in common? What do you think about the commentary over the closing credits?
If you like this, try: “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Anchorman”

Related Tags:


Action/Adventure Comedy Crime

12 Replies to “The Other Guys”

  1. Nell,
    I absolutely LOVED this movie! Honestly, I thought Ferrell’s backstory was brilliant. Who would’ve thought THAT is why he chose to be a nerdy paper-pusher! Plus, the opportunity it provided for some later jokes was pretty genius too. Without that backstory, those jokes couldn’t exist, and they were funny.
    My only 2 problems were: Not enough of “The Rock” and Sam Jackson, and as with so many comedies, too many jokes drowned out by laughter…so hard to predict all those moments as a director (sometimes even if you do, you can’t waste time waiting or you won’t get everything in the film).
    Good stuff as always.

  2. Great reviews. 🙂
    I’ve been really wanting to see this movie for months, but like all films like this one I’m always unsure if I can take my wife out to see them or not. I noticed that there is “very strong and crude language”. I’m always reluctant to take my wife out to see films where they drop “F-Bombs” like there’s no tomorrow. Other strong language is ok, but she doesn’t handle that one very well.
    I figured that of all of the movie review sites, you would be the one person that would be able, and willing to possibly let me (and other husbands/fathers in my place) know if that one’s used alot in this film.
    Thanks in advance if anyone responds.

  3. Except for the explosions at the beginning and end,I found this movie quite dull and surprisingly unamusing. My husband, who loves slapstick, and Will Ferrell,kept nodding off. The three jokes in the trailer took us to the film, but we’d already seen them, so the movie was an expensive rerun. I wouldn’t worry about your wife being offended as much as she might be bored.

  4. Thanks very much, Pat. I’m sorry you were disappointed and appreciate your letting us know — it will prevent others looking for a more slapstick-y movie from going to see this one.

  5. I think this movie was absolutely hilarious– far more clever than 90% of the comedies out there today. The segment about the tuna and the lion is as smart and surrealistic as anything Monty Python ever came up with. I never thought that Will Ferrell was capable of such a light touch. Apparently it was too light for some of your other readers.

  6. um id just like to say that sometimes you are a little to hard on some movies and say that some movies a way worse than they actually are. id also like to say that most of the time you are right about movies and their age appropriateness. take this movie for example, i do not believe this movie was very bad…..i believe it should be for mature 7th-high schooler. it really wasnt tht bad!

  7. My husband and i went to see this movie tonight and were totally entertained. I disagree with Will and would NEVER EVER take my 12 year old/7th grade son to this movie, though…and he wants to see it badly, since many of his friends have.
    It’s a shame that there is so much pressure on parents to give in. The humor in this movie was decidedly adult and I would have to answer alot of his questions when it’s over…which is why he’s not going to see it yet.
    We had a fun time, but my boy won’t be adding this to his favorites list for a while.

  8. Many thanks, cstanley1028! I am very happy to hear that you agree with me about the movie — both its quality and its age-appropriateness. Your comment will be very helpful to parents who are considering their own middle-schoolers’ pleas to see the film. Much appreciated.

  9. I have to agree with Nell and CStanley1028. I saw this movie with my husband and I also have a 12 year old who wants to see it. The movie is funny in parts but the humor has a definite adult slant to it, and I am not a prude by any means. however, it is a daily struggle in some regards to preserve the childhoods of my boys (ages 8,10 and 12) and they will not be seeing this movie or ones like it for some time. largesse

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