For me, Will Ferrell has been losing his touch. After the success of “Talladega Nights,” it seemed the SNL funny man stuck a little too much to the script, rattling off more sports comedies (“Blades of Glory” “Semi-Pro”) centered around the same egotistical ignoramus character he played in “Nights.” Follow that up with one dead-on classic (“Step Brothers”) and one questionable misstep (“Land of the Lost”), and “The Other Guys,” stands as a decent litmus test to gauge both Ferrell’s range, and staying power. “The Other Guys” has the feel of another silly Ferrell movie, but the addition of Mark Wahlberg as the straight man to Ferrell’s doofus, gives the film more diversity in its humor and takes weight off of Ferrell’s comedic shoulders. The casting in general separates this from past Ferrell movies, with Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, and Eva Mendes all chiming in with worthwhile bits. And that is in large part to Director Adam Mckay, (“Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights,” and “Step Bothers”) whos script, while at times inconsistent, has its moments for sure. But if we are to look at this as a Ferrell movie, and judge it against his career, then the transition from ignorant hot shot to bumbling pansy suits him well. It’s clear that he can play an idiot well, and “The Other Guy” allows him to explore another species in the idiot rolodex. He plays Allen Gamble, an NYPD accountant, who prefers safety to excitement. His partner, Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg), is just the opposite — being confined to desk and paper work is driving him crazy, though not as much as Gamble’s peculiar sensibility and mannerisms. Together, they are “The Other Guys,” or the office misfits incapable of cracking a case, or even earning any respect. But alas, that one big case does come along, and the two try their hardest to work together and climb the ranks. The case itself is no real doozy (a financial crime for the times), and is reflective of the movie’s lack of overall foundation. There is little to no time spent in explanatory dialogue or narration, and while the brevity serves as a bit of a satirical wink, some of it comes across as quick, undeveloped brushstrokes. Both of our “other guys” have demons to face, Ferrell’s being considerably more hilarious. Wahlberg however, is left with two, one male and one female. The choice to have him resolve the less interesting and funny one (it’s the female one) leaves the movie addressing an aspect of his character the audience really doesn’t care about. The lack of context and foundation goes further (What precinct or borough are they even in?), but the fact the that the film is able to push past it and remain likable despite, is a testament to the team behind it. “The Other Guys” was a disappointment in that I had high hopes and jokes and pacing were sometimes inconsistent. However, that’s not to say the Ferrell-Wahlberg dynamic was any less funny than I anticipated, or that their buddy cop film is any less funny than the other comedies this summer.
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