Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Grumpy Movie Review: The Other Guys

I'd been waiting all summer for this movie to come out. It all started when I first went online and saw the new "motion poster" that was going to be featured in London subways. I'm pretty sure I watched that thing 5 or 6 six times and I couldn't stop laughing. The previews were also promising, featuring Mark Wahlberg's overzealous police detective trying to drag partner Will Ferrell from their roles as "B Squad" cops into the limelight.

Unfortunately, the movie wasn't quite able to live up to the expectations I'd set by the poster and previews. The main problem comes from today's trend of comedies where the script tends to give way to endless improvisation. Now, I'm all for improvisation, if for nothing else than getting to watch the endless variations on a scene when the DVD comes out. The problem, however, is that when you make a movie based on doing take after take of various improvisations and then pick the funniest one, the movie starts to lose its rhythm.

Plus, there are so many different jokes being thrown at you that attempts to return to recurring jokes don't have the same resonance. One bit, for example, features a couple of minutes about Mark Wahlberg explaining how he learned ballet in order to make fun of feminine guys in his neighborhood. Towards the end of the movie, after another hour or so of filling all empty space with jokes, some of which worked and others that didn't, they came back to the theme of Wahlberg learning something feminine in order to make fun of feminine guys. And honestly, I can't even remember what the hell the actual joke was.

Now, even though I was let down a bit doesn't mean the movie wasn't funny. I had quite a few laughs from Wahlberg and Ferrell, although you could tell Wahlberg was trying just a little too hard to be funny. Michael Keaton has some great lines as the put upon captain, and hopefully this is another step towards the comeback that I was pushing for back in my review for Toy Story 3. Samuel Jackson and The Rock were great in their 5-10 minutes onscreen as the hotshot cops that Wahlberg aspires to, and without giving too much away their exit was a great take on the stupid risks that most action heroes take without giving a second's thought to the consequences.

So the movie wasn't quite what I was hoping for, but I think part of the problem is for some reason that motion poster had me expecting more than I should have. The movie was good, although nothing about it requires you see it in the theaters so I'd say feel free to wait for it to come out on DVD. That way you'll get to watch what I'm sure will amount to another movie's worth of outtakes.

Grade: B-

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