The Other Guys

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 9, 2015

Very funny! There’s a nice balance between notated plot and improvised, sketchy bits. Both parts get their due without getting too much. Jackson/Johnson are funny with an edge, which eventually connects to the closing credits, and the apparent motivation behind the whole exercise. These filmmakers are really angry at patriarchal/capitalistic power! Plenty to back them up, and good for them. Jackson/Johnson’s inexplicable demise is pretty nervy! Continuing on the subject of character, Farrell/Wahlberg are also very well and amusingly matched. They don’t quite get to poignant, which is part of the point. Here we see the aforementioned notation/improvisation balance most clearly.

What we’re getting here is basically the Odd Couple, until we start with the unnecessary digressions. These are unjustified and implausible, and provide some of the best moments in the movie. The Eva Mendes character, for instance (though that [intentionally] extended dirty talk sequence does get pretty tiresome), or the bit with the old girlfriend, or the superb pimp subplot. (Not something I’d normally find myself saying, but I’ll stand by it.) The same goes with the unusual circumstances behind some of Wahlberg’s various arts skills. For instance he learned to dance really well just to p___ off that gay guy. There are lots of other fun things, many of them just tossed off: the sotto voce fight at the funeral, the car, the gun, Dirty Mike, etc. Note also the judicious use of their secret weapon; Michael Keaton used to be something of a Will Farrell, and he’s still completely up to the task. Fame is fickle, and eclipse hardly ever means that the eclipsed has nothing more to offer. Amazing!