THE OTHER GUYS: On General Release Friday 17th September
Let’s face it San Diego, it’s been a while since Will Ferrell produced a good comedy. Indeed it has been so long that some may even started to think of him as a two-hit wonder rather than a comic genius struggling for form. The Other Guys doesn’t quite hit the heights that he achieved as Ron Burgundy, but with the help of a raucously manic Mark Wahlberg, he has definitely achieved something of a return to form here.
Ferrell didn’t become unfunny overnight, but it is clear that he has struggled to match his off-beat style to a suitable movie vehicle recently. In this wacky but clever odd-couple cop film, he rediscovers that spark brilliantly and basks in a great script that gifts him the kind of neurotic character which channels his irreverence effortlessly. As pen-loving, nerd detective Allen Gamble, Ferell gets all the comic angles he could ever need, especially with a hilariously exasperated Wahlberg as his foil.
Having said all this, the opening scenes of the film barely feature the main duo and they are easily as funny as everything that follows. Samuel L Jackson and The Rock (he will always be The Rock to us) start us off with a spectacular harpooning of the John McClane school of cop film. The tone of the movie is then set when they roll back into the office sporting medals and Allen clamours to do the paperwork for their sting, to the acute embarassment of his partner.
But when the two action hero detectives throw themselves to their deaths in a ego-fuelled stunt, a space opens up for one set of police buddies to take their place in the limelight. Allen is reluctant to leave the safety of his desk, but when an urgent call comes in, Wahlberg forces his partner to respond at gun-point. Incidentally, Allen is unable to respond as his piece has been confiscated by police chief and serial TLC quoter Michael Keaton. “Don’t go chasing waterfalls” and “I don’t want no scrubs” are just a couple of his more sage words of advice.
There are some other fine supporting roles from a rather affable Steve Coogan and Eva Mendes, who plays Ferrell’s girlfriend (to the unmitigated shock of his partner). Which brings us to the other real story of The Other Guys – Mark Wahlberg appearing in his second comedy of the year and doing a much better job than the feted Steve Carell in Dinner For Schmucks. Describing this as the birth of a new comic talent might be pushing the boat out a little but he is certainly proving himself a capable comic actor. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait another couple of years for a decent Will Ferrell movie..