Monday, December 27, 2010

At the Movies: The Other Guys

If you like explosions, gunshots, car chases, and Will Ferrell's comic genius for awkward social situations, then you'll like The Other Guys. I picked up the DVD for the bf a couple of days before Christmas because he kept trying to rent it On Demand without success. (I almost blew my cover when he announced that he wanted to try again on Christmas Eve Eve by erupting into helpless giggles, insisting that I'd rather watch a rerun of "The Big Bang Theory.") Anyway, the movie is about two NYPD cops stuck behind the desk. Well, at least Terry (Mark Wahlberg) feels as though he's stuck. Hungry for glory and the chance to "fly like a peacock," he convinces mild-mannered ex-accountant Allen to join him in his quest for greatness. Although initially reluctant, Allen ends up agreeing to the mission, and the two of them climb into Allen's red Prius, which boasts a CD player preloaded with a half dozen Little River Band CDs, much to Terry's disgust. A textbook nerd, Allen makes one annoying observation after another in true Ferrell fashion, prompting Terry to repeatedly lash out that he hates him. Yet just when it seems that the team's odd couple ways will be their undoing, they stumble upon a huge case involving big business, the details of which aren't important. (Hey, we all know these crazy plots are just a vehicle for character development, screwball antics, and good guy-saves-the-day denouements.) The discovery forces them to get along and reinforces their desire to prove themselves to their boss, a TLC-lyrics-spouting-police-captain-slash-Bed-Bath-and-Beyond-manager played by Michael Keaton. Ferrell predictably steals the show, misunderstanding all of Wahlberg's orders and giving way to hilarious scenarios. Perhaps one of the funniest (and most disturbing) parts is when Allen reveals that he was a pimp back in college. Only, he doesn't realize that that's what he was, relaying the incident detail by naive detail to Terry's horror while a song entitled "Pimps Don't Cry" wails in the background. That's not to say that Wahlberg doesn't have his own shining comic moments. His character becomes a little more complex when we learn that this hard-boiled cop has an artsy-fartsy ex-girlfriend for whom he still carries a torch. As Terry tries to win her back, he unveils unlikely talents for ballet dancing and art interpretation, all the while defending his tough-guy image by claiming that he honed the skills so he could make fun of the nerds on his block growing up.

In the end, Allen and Terry rush in to save the day in classic style, earning the respect they so desperately crave. Is it a little cheesy and predictable? Well, yes. Is it a little raunchy in parts? Again, guilty. But I think I speak for lots of viewers when I say that we'd be disappointed if it were anything but. The Other Guys is a nice diversion punctuated by stretches of subtle humor. I can honestly say I'm glad I made that last mad dash to buy it.

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