There is something about this movie that makes me laugh every time I see it. It is set in a fictional New York where over the top action is the only way cops can get results. It has a wonderful cast that stars Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell. They are two desk cops who were called into action when the two led detectives (played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson) in their precinct vaguely kill themselves in pursuit of armed robbers. A web of conspiracy is spun by Terry ‘Yankee Clipper’ Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) that ties all the cases they’re involved in together to make for a ruckus Buddy-Cop comedy.
To enjoy a comedy, it must have a few attributes that shine. First, the jokes; there needs to be very creative jokes in the movie. Jokes aren’t limited to “want to hear a joke?” type of dialogue. It’s about how the dialogues are used to convey jokes. By that, I mean what are the character’s response and how do they respond to situations. That’s how jokes are made in movies. And there is always a response in this movie. An example is when Mark Wahlberg is trying to persuade Detective Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) to join him at unraveling the suspicious deaths of the previous top detectives, Chris Danson and P.K. Highsmith (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson). Detective Hoitz gets angry and responds to Detective Gable’s incapability of fulfilling his partners zeal by stating that if he were a lion and Gamble was a tuna, Hoitz would go out of his food chain to attack and eat Gamble. Gamble responds (key word) by stating that in no way would that be able to work. He would gather a group of tuna and they would construct breathing apparatus’ to get on land and attack Hoitz (the lion). The whole scenario is surreal. They are having a discussion on pursuing ideas on finding out what happen to the best cops on the police force and it completely breaks down into an argument into how each partner operates. Hoitz characterized himself as a lion; a ferocious beast who hunts and does what ever it can to catch a pray. Gamble had no idea that he’d be characterized as a tuna and found creativity as his best approach to tackling the problem. He realized working together and finding using technology would be the best course of action to handle the problem. At first glance, it seems like a comedic banter between two partners who don’t seem to get along but this short dialogue showed who they are and how they work.
Another example of the characters ability to respond is when they meet with David Ershon (Steve Coogan) for scaffolding permit violations. They believe this is just a random encounter with a man who violated his permits and Ershon reasoning is that they aren’t really here for the permits. He thinks that they are on to him and his illegal dealings and tries to buy them out. This snowballs into the events of the rest of the movie. You see in the scene that this was just a simple snatch and grab to question Ershon and it enabled for the plot to progress subtlety. Ershon’s response was the catalyst for plot progression.
Another point that makes the comedy funny is the supporting characters in the movie. The higher amount of colorful characters in the movie allows for the comedy to disperse. This dispersion of comedy gives the movie great balance. The balance is struck when the protagonist and antagonist have multiple stand out characters in each side. In this instance the antagonist wasn’t really an actual enemy but the people who tried to derail the duo’s investigation.
The protagonists were supported by: Sheila (Eva Mendes), Gamble’s “very unattractive” wife, as described by him; Police Captain Mauch, a high-ranking cop who is often (unknowingly) quoting TLC songs; David Ershon, the multi-billionaire with debt to pay. These side-characters never really have interactions with one another (Ershon and Mauch interact only when Ershon is released from is confides at the station). The supporting characters are hubs for the main protagonist, each offering something different and useful for the main protagonist. Sheila was the support that kept Gamble from losing his composure. Captain Mauch looked out for the partners and did all he could to aid them from within the precinct. Ershon had key evidence that could help the detectives reach their goal of taking down the global investment firm Ershon worked with.
The antagonist of the film was Global Investment banking firm, Lendl Global. The CEO Pamela Boardman (Anne Heche) is displeased with the amount of money that was used by Ershon to invest in deals with Chechan and Nigerian investors. Those respective investments led to net loses and for all three parties (Pamela Boardman, Chechan and Nigerian investors). They all sought to take care of Ershon. Pamela sends mercenaries, lead by Roger Wesley, to capture Ershon. Roger isn’t concerned with the detectives and so he takes measures to impede them on their investigation. He usually accomplishes this by knocking them unconscious, sending them to a strange location, and removing their shoes (to Detective Hoitz bewilderment). The other antagonist of the movie are rival duo cops who also seek to solidify themselves as the top cops in the force. They try to imitate the recently deceased detectives, Chris Danson and P.K. Highsmith. They make fun of the duo’s actions any chance they get. They are always there when ever something goes wrong for the duo. Whether it’s smashing into a crime scene or making a wrongful arrest.
The last attribute that makes a comedy enjoyable is the likeability of the protagonist. The protagonist of the movie need to be enjoyable to watch or the movie wont work. They are the ones who are on-screen most and have the most dialogue. In this instance the detective duo of Hoitz and Gamble work. Mark Wahlberg works as very aggressive and agitated desk cop. He was primed to take on a detective role until he had an incident that involved Yankee superstar, Derek Jeter. Gamble is a timid cop who knows that extreme circumstances will cause him to lose his cool and cause him to become a reckless, drug filled, pimp. The flaws of the protagonist is what makes them very enjoyable. They are, as the narrator states, “the other guys”. The guys that wouldn’t amount to much; people who hold themselves back. In this particular instances, they are the other guys who don’t want to be every other guy anymore. These are peacocks who want to fly. And with reckless abandonment guiding them, they end up accomplishing that feature.
“The Other Guys” transcends the Buddy-Cop genre of comedy and becomes a regular comedy movie in its own right. There never is really a clear sense of danger for the protagonist like you see in Bad Boys, National Security or Hot Fuzz. This is a less serious movie. With that added niche, they have liberties to take jokes and run with them. It has a lot of funny jokes, very complimentary supporting cast and a protagonist that are enjoyable to watch. For those three reasons it has become one of my favorite comedy movies. With that, I’d like to thank you for your time and I leave you with a link to the blooper/Gag reel from the movie. Peace.