The Other Guys Is a Perfect Will Ferrell Vehicle

When vomit looks pretty, when brawls are silent, when Will is just Will

“This was the best free movie I have ever seen.” While I am not sure how complimentary this compliment actually is, it was a sentiment that I heard uttered by several audience members. Like last week’s Dinner for Schmucks, the preview audience for The Other Guys (PG-13) laughed, screamed, high-fived, and nearly became riotous when the movie had to be restarted (due to technical difficulties). There may have even been a few “no he di’n’ts.” Almost all of this was clearly due to Will Ferrell. The pro-Will Ferrell audience members thought everything he did was the funniest thing they had ever seen. (And I mean e-v-e-r-y-thing! A shot of him smirking set the audience off into a hysterical tizzy.) Unfortunately, if you are not completely in the Will Ferrell camp (I’m more independent) and do not think Anchorman or Talladega Nights are the funniest movies ever made, The Other Guys may not be for you.[SIGNUP]

The movie stars Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as a pair of detectives, Gamble and Hoitz, who are always in the shadow of The Guys—the bombastic duo Highsmith and Danson (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). When Highsmith and Danson are sidelined—in probably one of the most ridiculously random scenes ever—Gamble and Hoitz attempt to take their place. When they try to arrest a financial mogul (Steve Coogan) for improper scaffolding permits, they become embroiled in a financial cover-up.

That’s the plot. Well, that’s the premise.

In the hands of Adam McKay, who co-wrote and directed Ferrell in Anchorman and Talladega Nights, the plot is not the main attraction. The plot is simply a ploy to get Ferrell, and sometimes Wahlberg, to stay stupid things (“If I were a lion and you were a tuna …”), do stupid things, and meet stupid people (an ex named Cristinith—seriously).

While much of this movie feels been-there-done-that (can we really believe that Eva Mendes would be Gamble’s wife?), there are some standout scenes. The silent brawl at a funeral for officers is a genius mix of stupidity and hilarity. The special effects of Ferrell and Wahlberg’s night of drinking are visually stunning. I would love to see how they created this wacky, frozen, three-dimensional timeline that the camera effortlessly pans through. It even makes vomit look pretty. But as you would expect, the main attraction is Ferrell. He’s loud. He’s weird. He’s prone to slipping into his Harry Caray and George W. Bush impressions.

So if you plan on seeing The Other Guys while proudly wearing your Ron Burgundy t-shirt, you are in for a treat. For everyone else … well … (In theaters.)

My Grade (for Ferrell fans): A-
My Grade (for everyone else): C