Every time that the names Adam McKay and Will Ferrell are combined to create a movie I get excited. Each of their collaborations has yielded quite a bit of enjoyment for me, whether it’s their first big break out with Anchorman (an all-time favorite of mine) or their more recent hits with Step Brothers and Talladega Nights, there really isn’t a film this pair has made that I haven’t greatly enjoyed. Enter The Other Guys, their latest effort with a non-comedic co-star for Ferrell and a bit of a departure from the usual Ferrell/McKay formula in that it mixes in quite a bit of action movie staples in with the usual copious amount of ridiculous humor the duo is known for. The new formula mash up paid off for the studio at least—the film opened to positive reviews and it went on to gross a fair bit of coin—not a lot when it’s $100 million dollar budget is taken into account, but still enough to turn a profit and warrant another foray into McKay and Ferrell’s brains.
Misfit NYPD detectives Gamble and Hoitz (Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg) are sentenced to life behind the desk. They hate each other and the monotony of their meaningless jobs, as they’re forced to live in the shadow of the two biggest and most badass cops on the force (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson). But when those guys go down for the count, opportunity knocks for Gamble and Hoitz. Stumbling onto what could be one of the biggest crimes in years, can The Other Guys step up their game to solve the case without killing each other and destroying NYC in the process?
Right from the opening scene you know this film is going to be ridiculous. With Jackson and Johnson’s over-the-top action hero characters pulling out every typical 80s cliché (jumping on top of cars, jumping off cars, driving cars through things, etc.) within a few scant moments of the movie’s opening, it’s clear that this film isn’t going to play around when it comes to the “subtlety” of its humor. Although really the opening also served as quite an impressive bit of CGI/stunt work, as everything relating to Jackson’s Chevelle tossing itself around, into and out of a tour bus was so superbly pulled off that it was immensely entertaining just from the start. Of course those characters aren’t in the entire film so we get our quota of car chase action pretty early on…which his good because the rest of the car stuff after that involves a Prius.
We’re quickly introduced into the volatile pairing of Ferrell and Wahlberg who really play off brilliantly off one another. Ferrell is a bit more reserved in this film and we only really get to see his craziness come through when his past as a pimp comes up and when he gets in on a game of “bad cop, bad cop.” The rest of the time its Wahlberg’s angry face that does most of the yelling on the screen; this changes things up and a friend of mine who really just doesn’t like Ferrell at all enjoyed this movie quite a bit. I realized by my second viewing the reason he liked it was probably because Wahlberg’s character is constantly yelling at Ferrell’s for his stupidity, thus alleviating the hatred for Ferrell since he’s being constantly berated on screen anyway. It’s a bit of a change up but those who are fans of Ferrell should find it properly entertaining regardless of this little deviation from the norm.
Admittedly I wasn’t crazy about this film at first, mainly because I had expected to leave with sore cheeks (from laughter!) and instead was really just moderately entertained by it. However by the second pass I appreciated it more as it wasn’t quite so in-your-face with the trademark Ferrell/McKay humor. That and two of my favorite genres (as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before) are comedy and action, so anytime the two are paired up even moderately successfully I’m immediately intrigued by it. Add in the fact that it did both mediums it was covering extremely well and you just end up with a film that is as exciting as it is funny.
Wahlberg and Ferrell aside, they weren’t the only actors garnering laughs. Eva Mendes as Ferrell’s wife was simply hilarious and the whole dinner sequence between her, Ferrell and Wahlberg was absolutely hilarious (although that can mostly be attributed to Wahlberg’s dumb faced look throughout the whole thing). Steve Coogan was a fairly entertaining bad guy and Rob Riggle and Damon Wayans Jr. made for a great “rival” cop team for Ferrell and Wahlberg to go up against. But without a doubt the best side-role in the film for me was Captain Gene Mauch, played by Michael Keaton. Keaton kind of shied away from films until recently (two films in 2010!) and I can only hope he continues to reappear in them as the two productions he was in this year were really fantastic.
Overall there’s a lot to love about The Other Guys and whether it’s the fun action scenes or the hilarious side bits the film is rarely without some kind of entertaining element. It does drag a bit in the middle while we deal with the inevitable dissolving of the Wahlberg/Ferrell relationship, but that thankfully only lasts a few minutes so we aren’t plagued too much with it. In the end this is definitely a Recommended film to check out. I’d go higher but I know how polarizing Ferrell can be to people so I’ll score it a tad bit lower.
The Other Guys finds a home in a standard double disc Elite Blu-ray case with a standard Blu-ray housing the two versions of the film (theatrical and uncut) and a second disc with the DVD and Digital Copies on it (one copy for a PSP and one copy for iTunes/PC). The differences between the two cuts of the film are minimal; I watched it with the on-screen indicator of when a scene was new and it despite there being nine minutes of new footage there really wasn’t a whole lot that jumped out at me as anything that made the film any better than it already was. There were some more bits with Ferrell and Wahlberg and an extended sequence with the discussion about what happened to Ferrell’s Prius, but that’s the main gist of the new stuff.
Moving onto the AVC encoded 1080p 2.40:1 transfer we get the usual flawless presentation out of Sony. The majority of the film oozes detail out of all of the frames, boasting plenty of detail in the myriad of sequences that range from city to dark and dank interrogation rooms. On top of that we have plenty of detail on character faces and the like (especially Ferrell’s face—talk about a copious amount of pits and pores!). The audio matches the visual presentation with incredible dexterity. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix thuds and booms at every turn, spreading the love around to all of the surrounds and making full use of the LFE output. The film isn’t a non-stop thrill ride like Sony’s other loud title (Salt) this holiday season, but it’s enough to warrant cranking it up to be sure you hear every squealing tire and fired bullet. Especially enjoyable is the office shootout scene; as soon as that White Stripes song starts it’s a real aural pleaser for those of us who like loud noises.
Extras are plentiful and include:
Line-o-Rama (8:56, 1080p)
Gag Reel (6:17, 1080p)
Deleted and Extended Scenes (30:24, 1080p)
Flash Forwards (1:45, 1080p), futur eof some characters, random deleted stuff
Alternate Action (2:42, 1080p), alternate action sequences
Wasn’t That?? (15:00, 1080p), making of/character breakdowns/profiles
Crash and Burn! (10:06, 1080p), stunt featurette
Why Are There Brits in this Movie? (6:41, 1080p)
Rob Riggle Likes to Party (2:32, 1080p), on set stuff with Riggle
We Shouldn’t Kiss Chicken (1:16, 1080p)
Mark Wahlberg’s Eating Contest Entourage (3:33, 1080p)
Bed Bath & Way Beyond (4:06, 1080p), Keaton dailies from bed bath and beyond clip
Lendl Global Commercial (0:39, 1080p)
Extreme Close-Up (5:17, 1080p)
Pimps Don’t Cry Music Video (3:50, 1080p)
Everyone Hates the DVD Guy (4:47, 1080p)
All total, commentary aside, you’re looking at nearly two hours of featurettes/deleted scenes and the like. Not too bad, although I would’ve preferred a bit more of a focus—a lot of the final extras on the disc are just random on-set antics that don’t really mean much of anything. The real stand-out on this disc in terms of length, however, is the “Mom-memtary” which has the mothers of McKay, Christopher Henchy (co-writer) and Ferrell talking over the film. It’s really not informative about the film at all, as they just really comment on their feelings towards the actors, jokes, and directing/action so there’s no insight into the making of the film. There is insight into the childhoods of three main men behind the film though, so it’s an interesting listen for that reason alone.
All in all a Highly Recommended disc. Beautiful A/V presentation and a solid selection of extras make for a well-rounded set.
The Other Guys is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.