Will Preston

Tag: Will Ferrell

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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Sibling rivalry never grows old

by on Oct.05, 2010, under Films, Review

I feel really sorry for Will Ferrell. Sure, he’s releasing new movies every year at least to an audience that are always willing to see, and the guy is genuinely funny at times; but every film will always be compared to Anchorman. And every film after his outing as Ron Burgandy has always missed the top story section and been put back a few stories. John C. Reilly, however, has been popping up a lot more in these kind of movies. After seeing the slightly below average Taladega Nights, you could see that they could bounce off each other. It was really sweet to be blunt. Obviously, the next step would be to make them brothers. STEP brothers.

No time for a crafty shuffle...

This title eluded me at first as trying to find a mainstream American comedy feature is like fishing in a barrel…for a lobster. After many recommendations it was added to my LoveFilm list and arrived the other day. I wasn’t expecting it to topple Anchorman, but you never know. After diving head first into the premise we’re introduced to almost all the characters in the space of a 3 minute montage. Ferrell is a Fourty ish layabout who still lives with his mother, has no job, eats junk food and acts like a general slob. Meanwhile,  John C. Reilly is a Fourty ish layabout who still lives with his father, has no job, eats junk food and acts like a general slob. Both parents meet at a conference and instantly fall in love, leading to marriage and pairing the two man-children as brothers. STEP brothers.

I was thankful that this was restricted to just a film and not packaged off as a one joke sitcom that would have been dragged across various seasons until we’re all back to beating each other with sticks. But thankfully it’s just the one film. More than an hour and half of this would just be overkill for a pretty simple premise. Anyway, not only do the two brothers take a disliking to each other, they are also now living in one big house with their parents. Thus humour commences!

It’s basically a slapstick montage of one disagreeing with the other one and then finding creative ways of torturing the other. Sometimes, this was funny, other times it came off as a bit much. Reilly’s character has a precious drum set that no one must ever touch but him. The temptation from Ferrell is too much. Too much, that as an act of defiance against his slobby sibling he rubs his testicles over the drum set. This was a clear example of a joke being taken too far. You could have cut with Will running off exclaiming “I’m gonna rub my balls on your drum kit” and that would be fine! The mention of such an act is funny enough to fuel your brain into thinking about a man rubbing his balls on a drum kit out of revenge. But instead of the idea of a man rubbing his balls on a  drum kit, we really got a man rubbing his balls on a drum kit. Yes, they were fake testicles (not bad, Mr Ferrell, if they were yours!), but we didn’t need to see them. Once the danglies are out, the joke goes flaccid and floppy.

There's also a film quota for Bullet Time

There were some other moments that put a spanner in a good line of funny jokes and situations that were of similar calibre. It’s almost like all mainstream comedies have to fill a quota of gross out material before they receive a budget. What you see Ferrell for is not predictable scatological humour, but for his improvisational skills. And he does deliver well in places. The banter between the two step brothers played out superbly  as expected. Two of the funniest moments included Will’s awkward handshake his new step father. Like a frightened boy he raises a shy hand, only to raise another arm as a way of wanting a hug before aborting the entire engagement and toddling off like a small child. It funny in an innocent and cute way.

The sleep walking scenes raised a smile as well. At one point of the movie, however, I almost tore my eyes out. The younger, and more successful, brother of Ferrell comes over to rub his big successful crotch in his siblings face, but we are ‘treated’ to a cringing family sing along of Sweet Child O’ Mine (Possibly in the top 5 most overplayed songs next to Bohemian Rhapsody and Don’t Stop Believing). It almost made me hit eject and go have a cry in the shower.

The last half hour of the film really drops the ball and loses its sense of direction, leading to an ending that feels like someone else took over and quickly bashed out a textbook ending with not many jokes, but plenty of weeping sentimentality. In the first half of the film, I was convinced that this was coming extremely close to Anchorman, but in the end, about 60% of the movie is worth watching. If you need your Ferrell fix before The Other Guys, I would recommend this one for a rent.

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Can Ferrell brush down Anchorman with some Hot Fuzz? A First Look at The Other Guys.

by on Sep.16, 2010, under First Look

“I'm being physically threatened by an ex fuzz!” - Alan Partridge

Alight, Will Ferrell hasn’t come close to raising the previous bar set by his own Anchorman Accomplishment, but let’s give the man a chance to topple over that towering spire of comic silliness that we all love. After a barrage of slightly funny affairs, I’m a bit reluctant to spend my salt at the cinema. Not even 3D Ferrell could draw me in. For once, I might have to venture out my cave.

The Other Guys  looks like the B-Side to a kick arse single; the A-Side being the Samuel L Jackson/Dwayne Johnson combination. This first duo play the typical Lethal Weapon cop duo; a pair of New York City cops who have as much respect for public property as they do for their modesty. They might as well have 15 inch long hand guns shaped like dongs that shoot man lasers. You get the image, jah? But the film isn’t about them. It’s about the other guys, the ones back at the office who do the paperwork. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are two (wait for it) mismatched detectives who would be more likely to misfile an arrest warrant then beat a confession out of a bastard.

Cue the typical fish out of water comedy. But it does look funny. I laughed more than once during the trailer. That’s a rare thing, keep in mind. Ferrell looks on form, but he’s not usually good playing fairly straight characters. One part of the trailer see’s them shaking up a typically nervous Steve Coogan. When is the Alan Partridge movie coming out? Hopefully this will be the next good Ferrell film and not the US trying to do Hot Fuzz.  It’s out tomorrow, so let me know if I need to lower my anchorman DVD from it’s high pedestal.

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