Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Other Guys

the other guysLatest News Update About The Other Guys: Meanwhile, I wouldn’t say that the film is especially well-directed – McKay’s action scenes aren’t going to threaten the careers of the Paul Greengrasses and Michael Bays of the movie world any time soon – but it is expertly assembled. As in his previous efforts, there are more than a few scenes that exist purely to pay off a joke or offer some bizarre aside, but as a whole, the set pieces and the comedy as a whole actually feels organic to the environment in which it exists. A fight during a funeral, for example, is weird, silly and sort of pathetically appropriate all at the same time; a car chase in a Toyota Prius actually says much about the character who owns it. It really seems as if McKay and Ferrell have found their sweet spot between self-aware reality and patent absurdity, and they mine the clichés of cop movies to such terrific effect that it never feels like a parody, it feels like one of those great cop movies that inspired it, but with more laughs.

Although with few exceptions I’ve always felt like Wahlberg has been underrated as an actor, and seems to have little patience for the kind of tomfoolery that Ferrell engages in on a regular basis, he’s a perfect foil as Terry, playing the character’s exasperated determination so straight that it work as both serious and comedic. It certainly helps that they give his character so many interesting flourishes – learning ballet, for example, but only so he could make fun of childhood playmates – but his constant consternation gives the movie its connection to the “real world” of other cop movies, and also transforms that cop-on-the-edge cliché into something, well, if not more substantive, then at the very least understandable.

The supporting cast is more than equal to the task of keeping up with the mismatched pair at the center of the story: Johnson and Jackson embody the cool unrealism of blockbuster supercops; Ray Stevenson is terrifically understated as the mysterious henchman that gets between Allen, Terry and the solution to the case; Steve Coogan is sufficiently unctuous as a corporate fatcat who’s tied up in the jewels, money and secretive maneuvering; and Rob Riggle, Bobby Cannavale and Damon Wayans Jr. provide some particularly rich pushback as colleagues aiming to beat Terry and Allen to the top-cop crown. But special mention must go to Eva Mendes as Allen’s wife, Sheila, and Michael Keaton? as Captain Gene Mauch; Mendes effortlessly combines sex appeal and comedic chops playing a woman who improbably (and hilariously) lets Allen constantly disparage her to-everyone-else shockingly hot appearance, while Keaton makes a glorious and overdue return to form as a police chief who moonlights as a Bed, Bath & Beyond manager and sort of ends up embodying the film’s overall balance between and deconstructed self-seriousness and abject silliness.

But the bottom line is that The Other Guys is just amazingly funny, from one scene to the next, from one line to the next, and it really ranks as one of the best comedies in years. If nothing else, it features quite possibly the best song of the year, “Pimps Don’t Cry,” which had better show up on next year’s Oscar telecast. But as a parody of cop movies, McKay and Ferrell’s film works; as an action movie with more comedy than average, it also works. In short, The Other Guys just plain works, and what may work best is that you not only have to go back again to get all of the jokes, it’s that you get to


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