The Other Guys

The Other Guys

***1/2

 

Buddy cop flicks are consistently NOT great. Mediocrity, stupidity and rampant clichés are allowed to pass without judgment. They’re just part of the deal of going to a movie like this.

“The Other Guys” IS great. Not just by low buddy cop standards, but by any standard. It is funny, enormously entertaining, and truly inspired.

Will Ferrell stars as Allen Gamble: a New York police officer who would rather do paper work than go out and fight crime.

Mark Wahlberg is his partner, Terry Hoitz. Terry is a hothead who wants nothing more than to hit the streets and duke it out with some bad guys.

Terry gets his way when they stumble upon a huge case: a Madoff-esque Ponzi scheme being perpetrated by a desperate investment tycoon.

The reason why “The Other Guys” is the best buddy cop movie in ages is that Will Ferrell rises above the genre and dares to take his character seriously.

It’s basically unheard of to have a serious, three-dimensional character in a movie like this. But that’s exactly what Ferrell and his long-time comedy partner Adam McKay (the film’s writer and director) decided to do.

Allen Gamble actually has layers to his personality. He has real virtues and real vices. Not simple, one-dimensional, easily explainable Will Smith-esque virtues and vices. Allen has genuine strengths and sincere human frailties.

Allen is very smart in a geeky sort of way. But he doesn’t have much self-awareness and he often uses bad judgment.

Allen is no tough guy and he is perfectly content to sit at his desk all day and diligently fill out paper work. But when forced to go out and actually fight criminals, he is quietly confident and fearless.

Allen is a sensitive soul who is in touch with his feelings and is a loving, devoted husband. But he also can be hard-hearted in a very real and manly sort of way. Insults thrown his way do not particularly bother him. And Allen can be an awful jerk to his wife because of deep-seated anger bubbling to the surface.

Allen constantly surprises Terry and slowly earns his respect. More importantly, Allen constantly surprises US and keeps the movie interesting from start to finish.

This is a really special performance by Will Ferrell. He is a great comedic actor. Get ready, America: Will Ferrell is going to win an Academy Award someday.

“The Other Guys” is a flat-out great movie. A real crowd pleaser. I recommend it to everyone.

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