A Film4-backed short directed by Kibwe Tavares and starrnig Daniel Kaluuya
Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Steve Coogan and Michael Keaton team up for an odd couple cop comedy. Also stars Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L Jackson
Mark Wahlberg (who really should know better by now) and Will Ferrell (who obviously doesn't) team up as the leads in The Other Guys, another riff on macho cultural cliches from the people who brought you Anchorman and Talladega Nights. This time, it's the turn of the gung-ho cop drama, and the results are mixed.
Successful parodies are often held by critics to have skewered their target mercilessly. Any skewering here isn't exactly merciless; it's about as hit and miss as a blindfolded man running amok in a kebab shop. There are some good gags, but having lit upon something that tickles them, screenwriters Adam McKay and Chris Henchy don't so much milk their jokes as desperately wring them dry.
Oddly, there's a sense that underneath the cop caper business (summary: Mark Wahlberg is angry but can do ballet, Will Ferrell is nebbishy but used to be a pimp), a different film was originally planned. The plot has to do with a financial scam that will see the US taxpayer pick up the bill for a few rich men's dodgy gambles. This seemed utterly immaterial to all the jokes about guns, hot women and homeless people having orgies - until the end credits, when what I can only describe as an "info-graphic" explaining the precise mechanics of the financial scam - in an Open University Learning Hour style - popped up. Eh?
It's a bit like if at the end of Die Hard, someone whipped out a serious PowerPoint presentation on known German terrorist groups and their modus operandi. Did the filmmakers believe they had a serious point about the evils of crooked capitalism to convey? If so, nice message, strange medium.
If you liked Anchorman, you'll probably find things to like about The Other Guys, but it's not a classic even for rabid Ferrell enthusiasts.
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