Will Preston

Mark Wahlberg can be funny too!

by on Oct.13, 2010, under Films, Review

I’m going to stop going on about Will Ferrell films for a while. Mainly because the last few articles have been about the fuzzy haired improv-happy chappy. Look at him, though; he is a happy looking man. And he should be. Him and Adam Mckay have finally come close to beating Anchorman. It’s been five long years, but it’s finally happened. One of the main things that attracted me to The Other Guys from the start was dragging in Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson to a movie which spoofs their character archetypes from most movies they’ve been in.

And for some reason, this happens...

Wahlberg is the moody cop with a plate of chips on his shoulders, whilst Jackson and Johnson both play the hyperbolic cop buddy action due. Wait a sec. Jackson and Johnson? There’s a sound to that I like. Someone inform all the studios about my possible new idea for a spin off cop show. Thankfully, those two big names don’t overshadow the film as they are taken out of play in the first act of the movie. This provides the characters of Ferrell and Wahlberg to step in as the comedy counterpart.

A few years ago, Empire magazine (or was it Total Film? It’s like trying to tell the difference between Nuts and Zoo…) ran a small article on the roles of Ferrell with a short conclusion that his funniest roles are dependent on whether he is wearing a wig at the time; Ron Burgundy and Mugatu being good examples. When the barnet comes off, his quality can waver a lot like his hair underneath. Without a cranium rug, the man is naked. Not to say that he is dependent on comic props, it just helps his character. His character in this new addition is Allen Gamble, an annoying accountant for the NYPD, or a ‘fake cop’ as Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg) labels him.

The odd couple goes beyond the act; being that Wahlberg has never been in any role near Ferrell’s silly style. And he really took to it well, a good example being the fight talking argument between the two at the very beginning. Granted, Ferrell comes out as an unexpected winner (and a funny winner at that), but Wahlberg shows he can play a loser character just as well as the clowns. Even Michael Keaton gets the laughs in as their boss; a police captain who has a second job working at Bed Bath and Beyond in order to fund his bi-sexual son’s college degree. Heartwarming, eh?

Jackson and Johnson hugging in a manly way

There’s nothing much to say about the story, unsurprisingly. It’s generic, but tips the hat to a lot of cop clichés. There’s the ex-girlfriend that causes the hero grief, there’s the one terrible act of his past and there’s the over the top car chases (‘Where did you learn to do that?’ ‘Grand Theft Auto!’). In it’s own right, this could easily be the next light hearted cop buddy film instead of a spoof. It really gets under the skin of its counterpart and wears it well. Ok, that was a bit creepy.

The jokes come fast and frequent and there’s rarely a dull moment. My only gripe was Steve Coogan, who provided the McGuffin and not much else apart from a few Partridge-esque lines (‘I know a place where we can lay low – my Penthouse. I use it for prostitutes and meeting my parents. Not at the same time, as that would be weird.’). Granted, he got more screen time than expected, but I can’t figure out whether his role was over shadowed or he wasn’t given enough to work with. It was nice to see him anyway, old Coogers!

My main thought after seeing this was whether it was better than Anchorman. The jokes are on the right level and the cast is strong, but it’s a high mantle to take over from. As you read this I’m still debating over it.

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