Buddy cop films happen too often for the genre’s own good. More often than not we end up with eyesores like Cop Out or Rush Hour, and far too seldom do we get the spectacular entries like Lethal Weapon or Die Hard with a Vengeance or 48 Hrs. (technically, the last two aren’t buddy “cop” films, though they use the same formula). You have the straight-laced rulebook paired with the wild-eyed renegade, and the two discover that their methods complement each other in unexpected ways. The Other Guys takes that formula in two different directions and peppers the whole experience with unending jokes, most of which land with perfect timing and a few which end with an empty thud. Fortunately for the audience, the ratio is about 70% to 30% and goes to remind us that Mark Wahlberg can be really funny when he has the chance and that Will Ferrell is at his funniest when he actually flexes his acting muscles a little and doesn’t just act like a lunatic.
We’re introduced to the film through the haze of the carnage resulting from a typical arrest made by NYPD officers Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Danson (Dwayne Johnson), the typical supercops that every buddy cop franchise turns their duo into by the end of the second or third sequel. Living in their shadow are disgraced cop Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg) and gullible, departmental accountant Allen Gamble (Ferrell). This unlikely partnership results in plenty of humorous conflicts between the antipodal officers, and we get to watch it work up to boiling points and then settle again (over and over) as they step up from the comfort zone of the office to pursue a scaffolding violation against a financial guru (Steve Coogan) who has lost billions of dollars and has countless investors out for blood when his ponzi scheme begins to crumble. As Hoitz and Gamble pursue the case, they get in a little over their head much to the dismay of their captain (Michael Keaton) and to the joy of the audience, as it leads to some of the film’s funniest moments.
This just might be the most consistently funny thing Ferrell has done in a decade courtesy of a few incredibly hilarious monologues (tuna vs. lions) and some solid dialogue playing on common cop action film tropes. The Other Guys isn’t a comedy opus, it falters in a few places and there are some definite comedic dry patches between some of the script’s better moments. If you thought the year was disappointing as far as comedies are concerned (I’m among that group), The Other Guys delivers on repeat viewings in ways that its competition for this year (think Get Him to the Greek) just doesn’t. The performances are a breath of fresh air for the actors involved and the writing is consistently sharp. Speaking of which, this copy of the film, which features the unrated version, sees the return of one of the “learned an activity sarcastically” scenes–which are a certain level of genius–which didn’t make it into the theatrical cut.
Does the hi-def add much to the film? Not too much, but it’s a decently shot film courtesy of Adam McKay, and brings us some of the best laughs of the year. That counts for something. The audio and video are crystal clear, but it’s hardly action-intensive, so it never really makes a huge impact on the overall quality. The real reason for selecting the Blu-ray purchase over the DVD lies in the extras – where it becomes a judgment call for you.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
First off, this version includes the film on Blu-ray, DVD and a digital copy. The exclusive extras on the Blu-ray include a hilarious “mom-mentary”, which is an audio commentary but with the mothers of Ferrell, McKay, and Writer Chris Henchy. Winning second prize in the Blu-ray exclusives is the “Pimps Don’t Cry” music video which works better outside the film than it does as an in-film joke. The rest of the Blu-ray exclusives include deleted and extended scenes, the useful line-o-rama feature (prompting you when the funniest moments are coming up), and a gag reel. The rest of the extras can also be found on the DVD version and include other deleted and extended scenes, a tour of duty with Keaton as Captain Mauch working at his second job at the Bed, Bath & Beyond, and a production featurettes about the stunt work in the film (of which there really isn’t much).
"The Other Guys" is on sale December 14, 2010 and is rated PG13. Action, Comedy. Directed by Adam McKay. Written by Adam McKay, Chris Henchy. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton, Samuel L Jackson, Steve Coogan, Will Ferrell.