Movie Mind Says: Go To Movie Theater
If You Like This You Should Watch: Starsky & Hutch
Better Than: Step Brothers, Date Night, Rush Hour
Worse Than: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg
Sometimes nothing can be more difficult than being able to come out and say, “I was wrong.” The Movie Mind is not immune to making mistakes, but certainly more apt to take well-deserved credit for resurrecting Will Ferrell’s career. Maybe I should get into the talent management business…it’s sure to pay more than this gig! It was on this very website two years ago when I pronounced the end of The Will Ferrell Era. I said his career was on a steep decline and he had fallen victim to the common Hollywood-plague of overexposure. So what does Will do just to stick it to The Movie Mind? He sits on the sidelines for two years, making only award-show and web-short appearances to let us know he is still alive and give us a taste of what we missed about him, and then drops his best performance on us in a long time. In The Other Guys, Ferrell provides glimpses of the Anchorman-like humor we fell in love with and a bit of the naiveté from Old School’s Frank Ricard (the not-drunk version of Frank the Tank for those who forget). Before I get carried away, I am not comparing this movie to those two legendary films. I am saying, however, that Ferrell put in his best performance since then. There were two crucial defects that kept this from being one of his all-time best. Coincidentally, the defects did not fall on his shoulders. Nonetheless, I was like a proud papa watching the rebirth of an already stellar career.
Ferrell’s character, police detective/accountant Allen Gamble, has purposely chosen the most boring life he can find. This includes being with a wife that is hot in everyone else’s eyes but his. The reason he chose this life is because he was trying to run as far from his college alter-ego as possible. In case you are wondering, that would be a foul-mouthed pimp named Gator. Absolutely hilarious. Farrell is flanked by his overaggressive partner (Wahlberg) who is stuck trying to overcome his career-killing moment when he shot Derek Jeter before Game 7 of the World Series. For the record, this is the funniest part of Marky Mark’s character or performance. I mentioned that there were two fatal flaws in this film and I’ve just introduced numero uno. Casting Wahlberg next to Ferrell to play his comic foil could be a worse decision than inviting Mel Gibson to your kid’s Bar Mitzvah. He was so completely and utterly overmatched that it was just plain embarrassing at times. I think Wahlberg is a decent actor, but only when playing a wannabe hard-ass from Boston. He has no business ever setting foot inside the comedic genre ever again. I used to think John C. Reilly couldn’t hold his own next to Ferrell, but I have a newfound respect for him after watching Wahlberg stumble so badly.
The other main gripe I had with the movie was that it was a good 20-30 minutes too long. Many of you know I have a strict two-hour rule for films, but with comedies they should all be less than an hour and a half tops. This one came in at a shade under an hour and fifty minutes. The plot got much too involved and twisted towards the end of the film, and it just wasn’t necessary. Ferrell and Wahlberg are working to solve a financial caper that gets so complex it felt like we were reliving the Enron fiasco with way too many details. The film spends too much time developing that story when it really only serves as a backdrop to Ferrell’s antics. I think this was done as a way to develop Wahlberg’s character more which only makes it that much more painful.
The surrounding roles (aside from Wahlberg as I may have mentioned once or twice) were stellar. Michael Keaton makes a hilarious captain and Samuel L. plus The Rock as the testosterone-laden super-cops are perfect. Even The Daily Show’s Rob Riggle has some nice scenes. It pains me to think how great this movie could have been minus Marky Mark and with 30 minutes chopped off. Try to focus on how great Will Ferrell’s performance is and not on the film’s shortcomings. The joke-writing is very solid and there are some nice pieces surrounding Will as complementary characters. Unfortunately the one that matters most was also the weakest link. Maybe this talent management thing has some potential. Naaaaahhh.
Interesting Cameo Appearance: Derek Jeter, Mr. November himself, as victim of Terry Hoitz’ overaggressive trigger finger, thus altering the reign of the Yankees dynasty. Jeter managed to improve his cameo acting skills over his last appearance on the big screen in Anger Management.
Allen Gamble: Hey I did my first desk pop!
Cop: From bodily fluids and hair samples we determined that… a bunch of old homeless dudes had an orgy in there.
Allen Gamble: Oh God.
Cop: It’s called a ’soup kitchen’. Also a mama raccoon came along and gave birth on the floor, placenta blew out all over the back window there”
P.K. Highsmith: “Ay ay ay…if I want to hear you talk I will shove my arm up your a** and work your mouth like a puppet!
Allen Gamble: Oh look he’s flying.
Cop: You should have shot A-Rod.
Allen Gamble: At age 11, I audited my parents.
Therapist: How did that make you feel?
Cop: Like a Viagra pill with a face!
Terry Hoitz: I’m a peacock,You’ve gotta let me fly!