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Noah Forrest

By Noah Forrest Forrest@moviecitynews.com

“Did that go the way you thought it was gonna go? Nope.”

The Other Guys is way better than I thought it would be.  It’s not that I haven’t admired and enjoyed the films that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have made together, it’s that I have lost my faith in Ferrell as a consistent comedic presence.  For every Step Brothers (one of the more underrated comedies in recent years), there’s a handful of films like Land of the Lost, Semi-Pro, and Blades of Glory.  And as much as I enjoy the show Eastbound & Down, I didn’t find Ferrell’s slimy car salesman particularly funny or original.  Basically, I was starting to tire of the standard Will Ferrell shtick.

So color me surprised that The Other Guys turned out to be a fairly interesting send-up of cop flicks.  Ferrell is at his best here because he’s not as loud; he’s often been at his funniest when he’s subtle and quiet.  Here, it’s Mark Wahlberg that plays the more temperamental role and it’s much funnier to see Wahlberg lose it.  Of course, because Ferrell is reserved for much of the film, when he does blow up, it’s delightful.

Unlikely heroes

A rehashing of the plot is completely unnecessary because it’s all just a vehicle for Ferrell and Wahlberg to play off each other and they have great chemistry that nearly rivals what Ferrell shares with John C. Reilly or Paul Rudd.  I thought this film succeeded where Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz failed because Adam McKay doesn’t seem to have the same reverence for action films that Wright clearly did.  So, rather than lovingly mocking the outlandishness of these types of films as Wright did, this is a film that knows the plot should come secondary.

The one part of the film that really threw me off, however, was the end credit animated sequence that explains what a Ponzi scheme is and how it works.  It goes to some pretty heavy places, which is not how I wanted to leave a film that I just had a good time with.  It seems pretentious and heavy-handed, which is not what I expect to find when I sign up for a Will Ferrell comedy.

However, I fully enjoyed my time with The Other Guys.  It’s not high art and it’s not the funniest film ever, but it’s a good time and should offer everyone at least a few chuckles.

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“The city to me is the only possible vehicle we have to measure human achievement. We’re an urban species now. If you look at Karachi or Mexico City or Hong Kong or London or New York or Yonkers or Baltimore or any of these other places, the pastoral is now a part of human history. We’re either going to figure out how to live together in these increasingly crowded, increasingly multi-cultural population centers or we’re not. We’re either going to get great at this or we’re going to fail as a species.”
~ David Simon

“I wondered how different it would be to write a novel and it’s totally different. It’s very internal. The weird thing about it is that I found that novel-writing was much more like directing than it is like screenwriting. You’re casting it, you’re lighting it, you’re doing the costumes, you’re doing the locations, you’re doing it all yourself as a director would. In screenwriting, you don’t do that stuff. You don’t describe the face of the actor or the character when you’re writing a screenplay because Tom Cruise is going to do it and he doesn’t look like that, whereas in the novel to describe what he is is what he is. The actual act of writing, just like shooting on a set, is a slow slog. It’s going to work every day.”
~ David Cronenberg On Screenplay vs. Novel