The Other Guys opens August 6

Surprised, shocked and satisfyingly funny are just three (or I guess … four) of the adjectives I found myself thinking as the ending credits began rolling at this film. Well, that and I couldn’t stop humming the tune “Pimps Don’t Cry.” Prior to the movie, I was pretty sure that I would laugh, maybe a little, perhaps a chuckle here and there, but that this would be just an amusing waste of time. Nothing special. More than likely nothing that would be anything more than just one of our favorite morons running around saying silly things …  maybe while on fire.
Boy was I wrong. Wrong about the fire too.

“The Other Guys,” written and directed by Adam McKay (“Step Brothers,” “Anchorman” and the Internet hit “The Landlord”) is a laugh out loud festival of fun. Starring McKay’s constant comedic cohort and muse, Will Ferrell, “The Other Guys” is summer comedy at its best.

Narrated by the majestic Ice T, “The Other Guys” follows two of New York’s unfinest as they try to move out of the shadow of the city’s dynamic action hero team of Detectives Highsmith and Danson (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), Along the way, a supporting cast of “hey I recognize that guy” kind of actors show up and keep the fun rolling throughout.

As the lead characters, Ferrell and (a finally likeable and watchable again) Mark Wahlberg (“Max Payne” – gasp, “The Happening” – eek!) are gold. The two play the stereotypical team of straight cop partnered with the slightly crazed, constantly angry cop and it works very well. This is mostly due to the deeper back stories the characters have, making them more than just cardboard cutouts of what we’ve seen before. Ferrell’s Detective Gamble is a nerdy number cruncher with a dark and mysterious past and an uncanny ability to pull the hotties. On the flip side, Wahlberg’s Detective Holitz is the most hated cop in New York due to an accidental shooting of one of the city’s most celebrated sports heroes. Coupled together, they are constantly the butt of everyone’s jokes and the lowest on the totem pole of respect. As two polar opposites, the scenes they share are hilarious and the quips flow as easy as water.

In my opinion, this film works for a variety of reasons. Of course the funny chops of Ferrell, Wahlberg and a discreet (yet seemingly obsessed TLC fan) Michael Keaton are reason number one; a close second is the high level of maturity this film has. I know, I know, that sounds a little ridiculous considering Ferrell is the lead actor, but hear me out. While “Anchorman” is a classic and “Step Brothers” is a riot, there was still a level of awkwardness in a large variety of the jokes and situations. The movies are funny, but we laugh because most of the things said are so outlandish that over time they become cool quotables to throw out to friends. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. At the same time, the arc of the story, by the end seems forced and only a necessity because it is, after all, a movie. However, in this film, it’s very apparent that the working relationship of McKay and Ferrell is getting refined and for the audience, that equals better comedic timing, less awkward dialogue and a solid corralling of the wild acting livestock. It’s completely ridiculous, but in a more meticulous, edited way. Not every joke is a hard, in your face smack and sprinkled throughout there are numerous nuggets of humor that jab at almost everything and anything.

At the same time, it was clear that everyone understood and comprehended the kind of movie they were trying to make. Honestly, you can feel the relaxed casual nature of the direction. Having fun had to be a very big priority and it even pulled some great moments from the extremely beautiful but extremely boring Eva Mendes.

Overall, it’s difficult for me to find anything bad with this movie. I completely represent the demographic that this film is going after and it tickles my funny bone successfully throughout. If you really want to have a good, relaxed time and laugh the stress of the week off of your shoulders, grab your popcorn and beverage of choice, sit back and prepare to laugh. Just don’t spit your chewed up morsels all over the person sitting in front of you.

(Humming to myself … “Pimps Don’t Cry.”)

4 out of 5 Wooden Prop Guns

P.S. There is an odd statement of facts depicted in the ending credits. Lots of interesting tidbits about the financial ruin that large companies have put our country in. It’s a little out of place considering the fun you just watched, but worth sticking around to see.

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