The Other Guys

Sodom and Gomorrah: Funnier


Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg

By Robert Patrick

Dear diary,

So unfunny was “The Other Guys” that I plunged into the recesses of my memory, trying to find equivalent pain, and I reeled in a few contenders for worst experiences: getting struck in the ankle by a line-drive, being laughed at by Erin Olsen in eighth-grade after asking her out, slipping on black ice in Boston and slamming my head on the unforgiving blacktop. If I could somehow, in a weird sort of re-imaging of my past, recreate these scenarios and have them interlock like some sort of perverse Lego set, I would probably have a better time than watching Adam McKay’s newest comedy.

Will Ferrell plays a naïve, green-conscious police officer whose IQ could be trumped by a starfish. The animated actor flails about, in his typical verbose style of humor, while intermittently looking dumbfounded –  think Steve Carrell’s character in “Dinner for Schmucks”, but only an iota smarter. Mark Wahlberg, on the other hand, plays the same character he played in “The Departed”. All he does is patter on angrily while his brow becomes increasingly furrowed. The two of them are polar opposites, as they are demanded to be in these “buddy cop” comedies, and end up in shouting at each other when they aren’t clawing at one another’s collars. Frankly, the dog from that “Turner and Hooch” movie could play Will Ferrell’s character with more innovation.

Most of the jokes revolve around a lipstick-red Prius that Ferrell’s character drives. And if there is a marketing ploy involved, it’s that the environmentally friendly car can, by the logic of this film, withstand more bullets than the United States Armory could ever hold. Obviously the movie straddles the action genre, but the flashes of gunfire and churning of metal get lost in McKay’s unfocused direction; the way the thing was shot, and then edited, I felt like this was more of an epilepsy test than a suitable motion picture. What, was the camera strapped to a jackhammer?

Asking about the plot is inconsequential, as it solely exists as a sad chaperone to accompany the blue comedy of Ferrell and Wahlberg. Jokes about rape and suicide are the chasers to some of these bombastic action sequences. Unlike buddy cop movies like “Hot Fuzz”, “The Other Guys” manages to roll around in the leftover jokes from films like “Blue Streak” – “Blue Streak”!

Trying to remember, then transmit via keyboard, particular scenes from this movie makes me want to curl into bed out of depression. I’m not going to even mention the supporting cast, simply because I think they’re better than this film (you owe me one later, unmentioned actor #10).

As for Ferrell, his shtick as a dense man-child with the impulsiveness of a feral rabbit has pretty much gone stale. The baritone howling, the teeth-clinching facial tics, the jokes about inanimate objects have made me desensitized to life. And as far as Wahlberg is concerned, I’m not even sure if he was really in this movie; every scene looks like a bad take, cut out from the aforementioned “The Departed”, then digitally superimposed into a new storyline.

Yeah, a lot of bad things have happened to me in life; but none of them have been worse than having to watch, then write, about this movie. I rather have Pinhead from “Hellraiser” annihilate my entire being than ever think about this situation again.


Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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