Thursday, August 12, 2010

Movie Review: The Other Guys (by Dave Machado)

The Other Guys is a movie that left me confused.  Now don't get me wrong, this is not a confusing movie by any means, but I had a hard time determining whether or not I enjoyed what I saw as I was leaving the theater.  As with the other McKay/Ferrell collaborations, this is a very absurd comedy. The thing I respect most about this movie is that it's not afraid to spend minutes on one joke and keep pushing it further and further until it finally reaches a ridiculous conclusion.  It seems comedies today rely too heavily on the cut-away/split-second gag that it was refreshing to see a movie spend such a long time on silly topics like a lion vs. a pack of tunas. I've always been a fan of jokes that go on so long they continue to see-saw back and forth between "hilarious" and "when is this ever going to end!"  Luckily, Adam McKay's crew has a great sense of comic timing and more often than not will end a bit on the "hilarious" side of the spectrum.  Seeing how well this movie meshed the buddy cop formula with intentional comedy makes me finally have a reason to see Cop Out so I can compare them, Goofus and Gallant style.  

One issue with comedies that tend to be more incongruous than the rest is that the real payoff is on repeat viewings.  This always seems to be the case with McKay's films.  Aside from Anchorman (which I considered a classic before my first viewing was complete), it took a few times seeing Talladega Nights and Step Brothers before I really started to enjoy the entire movie and found myself giggling like a fool at things that simply went over my head the first time I saw it.  I firmly believe The Other Guys will fall into that same category.  In fact, just in writing this, I've stopped several times and just laughed about little things I originally didn't find funny.  There are gags that come so far out of left field that you might laugh a bit but are more shaking your head in disbelief.  It's only when you step back and think about what led up to that moment that it truly becomes hysterical.  I know this type of comedy may not be for everyone, but I can honestly say it's better than whatever they try to pass off as "comedy" in movies such as the close approaching Vampires Suck.

One last thing that must be said of The Other Guys is that the supporting cast is mostly spot on.  There are many quick cameos that will get you excited and almost everyone gets at least one great bit/line.  The one thing that almost didn't work for me though was the casting of Mark Wahlberg.  I'm hoping I come to appreciate his role more as I revisit the movie but it just didn't click for me at first.  I believe what caught me off guard the most is that Wahlberg isn't simply playing the straight man but is actually just as over-the-top as Farrell.  This shouldn't have surprised me though as McKay has never been one to have a stereotypical "straight man" character.  I think Veronica Corningstone from Anchorman is the only one I can think of that would fit the bill.  Still, I'm not saying Wahlberg isn't good in the role, it was just that my expectations were elsewhere so it took a while for me to get comfortable with his character.  Again, something that will be fixed on repeat viewings.  So while I don't consider The Other Guys a comedy classic, I still believe it is a solid movie from one of the best comedy directors out right now.

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