Maybe you were like me, sitting on the couch only half watching MTV’s Movie awards as you bumbled around the internet on your laptop-- occasionally looking up when your Twitter feed said something funny was happening…
Maybe you glanced up in time to see Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell hanging by their jocks from the scaffolding. Maybe you turned up your volume just in time to catch Mr. Entourage drop the f-bomb. Maybe you started wondering, what the hell was going on? And if you’re like me, you started tracking THE OTHER GUYS from that moment forward.


The campaign for the Other Guys is just getting ramped up, but on the offhand chance you haven’t seen the trailer yet, here’s the embed:

I had the opportunity to check out an early screening of The Other Guys, and attend the Press Conference that followed-- here’s my thoughts-- Note: The Other Guys isn’t exactly Inception, but I’ll still keep my review tastefully Spoiler Free:

You obviously surmise from the trailer that “The Other Guys,” Detective Allen Gamble (Ferrell) and Detective Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg) are not of the SuperCop variety. That’s the job of Detective Danson and Highsmith (The Rock and Sam Jackson, respectively)-- I don’t think any of you are under the impression that this is a Rock/Jackson movie, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when the two biggest Action-heroes in the city are taken out of the game, and it’s up to our unlikely heroes to fill in their shoes-- 

The Other Guys movie image on set Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne The Rock Johnson (1)

We were actually asked by Adam McKay not to spoil the Danson/Highsmith exit gag- which, I fully respect…all I’m saying is: it’s hysterical.

The film opens with a well-crafted and extremely fun action sequence (as evidenced in the trailer) with Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L playing over-the-top versions of thirty characters you’ve seen them play before. There’s a real giddy joy in watching the opening-- you know it’s played for laughs, but McKay and company treat it as a real action sequence-- and it’s surprisingly well done. When you see Sam Jackson hurling towards the screen in a runaway car, flying through the air, while blasting two barrels in each hand-- well, you just can’t help but get caught up in the spirit of it all.  I even argue that for a split second, you forget what movie you’re watching-- You’re fully ready to sit down and watch “The Guys” movie.

From there, Danson and Highsmith return to the precinct, where we establish our main characters: the odd-couple detective partners, Gamble and Hoitz. Gamble is a by-the-books desk jockey cop, happier to file paperwork all day than go out on calls. Ferrell plays him in his Quiet-Awkward-guy mode-- a tad akin to Marty Culp (The music teacher from the SNL days) or more accurately, The Dad who drives the Dodge Stratus.
Hoitz is the disgraced cop-- eagerly desiring to get a big-bust, but shamed by an incident with a New York Yankee (yeah, don’t want to spoil that either-- but I will say, as a Phillies fan-- I might have cheered a bit…Yankee haters are gonna love it.)

After the on-screen departure of Danson and Highsmith, a power vacuum is created, with a number of Detectives all vying for the newly vacated Action-Hero slot. Hoitz sees this as his chance to make his mark, but he is shackled to a partner who wants nothing to do with crime-in-progress calls.

Eventually, Gamble manages to convince Hoitz to take on one of his cases, a white-collar crime (“masterminded” by Steve Coogan’s character, Ershon) which turns out to be the biggest case of their careers.

I could continue to synopsize, but the fact that McKay and co-screenwriter Chris Henchy are riffing the buddy cop genre, I’m guessing you can more or less let the movie play in your head-- and you’ll probably mostly be right. Yes, although mismatched, maybe these two guys are the perfect partners for one another, and maybe-- jusssst maybe, they’ll both learn something about themselves from each other by the end of the film.

By following the Buddy-cop template, The Other Guys really moves-- you always know where you are in the film because you know the scene that serves as the next plot tent-pole. That’s not to say that McKay isn’t willing to wander a bit-- but the plot doesn’t meander like, say Anchorman (before you nab those pitchforks, I love Anchorman, too-- but you have to admit that it does veer off course from time to time.) That’s not to say they the film doesn’t allow for some indulgences: McKay mentioned that they know the places in the plot and genre that they’re able to “get fuzzy and go a little crazy” -- Actually, McKay has a great recurring gag in the film as a character named “Dirty Mike,” whom you won’t miss. Actually, Dirty Mike was slated to be even Dirtier, but apparently he shell-shocked one of the early test audiences with a five minute scene of utter vulgarity.  At the press conference, McKay assured us the footage will likely appear in the DVD release.

With Ferrell and McKay, you’ve probably got a good idea of what to expect from the film-- but I’m sure you’re wondering how Mark Wahlberg fairs in a comedic role. Not surprisingly, he does quite well. Wahlberg’s got a charm to him that makes him fun to watch-- no, he isn’t winning any Oscars here, but he’s able to channel that boyish sense of fun into his character.
You just can’t help but like Mark-- You know how a lot of those Entourage fans love to project themselves into the show? (Much akin to the height of the Sex in the City craze, when every late-20s female proclaimed the show was “just like my life!”)-- Well, with The Other Guys, you’re mainlining the dude-version source. Watching Wahlberg feels like watching one of your friends on screen. Not the character, mind you-- but the actor. Wahlburg’s got a “I want to grab a beer with that dude after the movie” vibe-- that makes him near bulletproof in this setting.
Plus, there’s a great recurring gag somewhat reminiscent of Adam Samberg’s “Hey, Donkey/Say Hi to your mother” bit-- funny enough, watching it, you realize exactly how awesome Samberg’s impression really is.

The true gem of The Other Guys is Michael Keaton. I don’t think I realized exactly how much I missed seeing Keaton in a comedy until now. Johnny Dangerously and Gung Ho were two of my favorite movies growing up-- so, to see him back in prime comedic shape is downright awesome. The great thing about Keaton is that he brings a certain amount of acting chops to “just a comedy”-- you’ll see, I’m not comparing him to Depp’s Sparrow-- but like Depp, you’ll find yourself watching Keaton in the background of a scene that isn’t his; just watching him play. It’s a treat.

Eva Mendes has been hit or miss for me-- I absolutely hated her in Ghost Rider (but then again, I absolutely hated Ghost Rider, minus Sam Elliot,) but I did like her in Hitch-- you can hate me for liking that movie, but I think it’s kind of charming.
Here, Eva has a few scenes to work with, but is mostly relegated to eye-candy as Gamble’s unbelievably hot wife, Sheila.   McKay and company do a great job sexing her up-- and she has a few memorably and funny scenes with Ferrell.
Through the press conference, Mendes kept up her comedic chops with the rest of the cast, which I was genuinely impressed with.


Rounding out the primary cast were Rob Riggle, Damon Wayans Jr, and a spattering of UCB guys-- if you’re familiar with that crew (or watch a lot of Funny or Die) you’ll be pointing at the screen and going “Hey, it’s THAT guy!” quite a bit. Smallish roles for all of them, but great stuff all around. Given the improvish nature of their comedy, I’d hope to see some alternate/gag takes on the DVD.


The surprise of The Other Guys is really Adam McKay, who turns in a pretty decent action flick hidden in a comedy. The two major action pieces are deftly handled and shot with John Woo love-- It doesn’t hurt that the film was shot by Oliver Wood, whose credits include Die Hard 2, The Bourne Films, and Face/Off.
If this comedy thing doesn’t work out for him, McKay might have a decent gig as the director for The Expendables 2. 

Last, but certainly not least, make sure you stick around post-credits-- first, there’s a smallish bonus scene-- but the real reason to hang is for Jon Brion (composer extraordinaire)’s “Pimps don’t Cry”-- a song so legit in its 70s porn/’sploitation vibe, I thought he’d mined a lost diamond from that era. Seriously, like “Blame Canada,” it’s going to be hysterical when Pimps Don’t Cry is nominated for Best Song at next year’s Oscars.

If there is a downside to the film, it’s that it leaves you with a bit of a bummer during the end credits-- Given that the film is about a Madoff-ish scheme, the closing features an infographic sequence that quite articulately showcases the real-world fuckedupness of CEO douchebaggery.
On the one hand, I appreciated the levity, on the other-- It was a bit of a kick in the balls after laughing my ass off for 107 minutes…might have been my own baggage that I brought, your mileage may vary.

Props to McKay and Henchy for tackling a real crime, although a financial crime might not be the most exciting robbery ever put to cinema, it’s ramifications go far deeper than a bank heist. As McKay mentioned in the press conference, “The perception of crime has changed. The fact that Bernie Madoff just stole 90 billion dollars, and these banks stole trillions of dollars-- all the sudden drug smuggling got kind of quaint.”

So, bummer credit sequence aside, (and again: worth it to stick around for “Pimps Don’t Cry,”) The Other Guys is a pretty damn fun time at the movies. Fans of McKay and Ferrell aren’t going to be disappointed, and given the action sequences, this one is worth catching on the big screen…

The Other Guys opens nationwide on August 6th.
Check out the official website here:

Tim Simmons is fluent in 7 languages, but only one of them is spoken on your puny planet. He also writes a webcomic called Spy6teen. He tweets in his sleep here, and also collects Comic Book Scripts. Tim will be back on Friday with the Frodos.

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