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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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“We don’t defy the laws of physics: There are no flying men or cars in this movie. So it made sense to do it old-school: real vehicles and real human beings in the desert. We shot the movie more or less in continuity, because the cars and the characters get really banged up along the way. The biggest benefit of digital technology for me was that the cameras were smaller and much more agile, so you could put them anywhere. We also spent a huge amount of time on spatial awareness—making sure the viewer could follow the action and understand what was happening. There has to be a strong causal connection from one shot to the next, just the same way that in music, there has to be a connection from one note to the next. Otherwise it’s just noise. Too often, if you just cram a lot of stuff into the frame, you get the illusion of a fast pace. But there’s no coherence. It doesn’t flow. It comes off as headbanging music, and it can be exhausting. We storyboarded the movie before we had a script: We had 3,500 boards, which helps the cast and crew understand how everything is going to fit together. Movies are getting faster and faster. The Road Warrior had 1,200 cuts. This one has 2,700 cuts. You have to treat it like a symphony.”
~ George Miller

“I was having issues with my script for It’s All About Love, so I called Ingmar Bergman and we ended up talking about everything but the script. He said, “Well, Festen is a masterpiece, so what are you going to do now?” At that point, I had not decided if I was going to make It’s All About Love, so I answered, “Hmmm, I don’t know. Maybe this, maybe that.” There was just a long pause, and then he said, “You’re fucked.” I said, “Well, how can you know?” “Well, Thomas, you always have to decide your next movie before the movie you’re doing presently opens.” And I said, “Why is that?” “Well, two things can happen. One thing is that you fail, and then you’ll feel scared and humiliated. It’ll get into your head. Second, and even worse, you have success, and then you’ll want more of it, or you’ll want to maintain it. But if you decide on your next film while you’re in the middle of editing, it becomes a very nonchalant choice. And then it’s shorter from the heart to the hand.”
~ Thomas Vinterberg

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