I still remember where I was the first time I saw Anchorman. I went with my brother to an almost empty theater for a matinee show in Harrisburg, PA. As soon as the movie started it had me laughing intensely within two minutes. My brother and I, however, were the only people in the theater laughing at all, let alone at that veracity. Anchorman rocketed to the top 3 funniest movies I ever saw (joining the ranks of The Big Lebowski and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, if you were interested). Director/Writer Adam McKay and Will Ferrell tried to capture lightening in a bottle again with Talladega Nights a few years later and didn't come anywhere close. Since The Other Guys is the pair's newest attempt at hitting that Anchorman target, I wasn't expecting magic. After two minutes of the projector turning on though, it was clear that these two were back on their A Game. This "buddy cop" comedy pairs the nerd with the benched badass like we've seen many times before. Something about this though feels original, but I'm not sure why. One reason could be the casting of Mark Wahlberg, who reminds me again and again how funny he can be. The unlikely comedic duo of Wahlberg and Ferrell had me in stitches through 95% of this movie. They improv banter that consists of debates over who would win in a fight - a lion or a school of tuna. But Wahlberg brings a level of hero intensity that makes the over-the-top and VERY well done action sequences believable. Michael Keaton (Batman, Toy Story 3) makes an awesome return to comedy playing the typical angry police chief. Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson also make their duration of the film octane fueled and own the funniest scenes in the movie. Eva Mendes (Bad Lieutenant, Hitch) holds her own against Ferrell and even matches his skills in her scenes too. The Other Guys could've easily fallen into the same trash heap that Bruce Willis' Cop Out was but it felt different from the beginning. It tip-toed in reality and fantasy throughout the entire film, just like Anchorman did, and you rarely feel that it's pointless and unenjoyable. The film is full of scenes that make you chuckle long after the movie is over and lines that you'll quote for years. I'm sure it will get funnier and funnier the more times you watch it and actually impresses in the varsity-level directing that you would expect from an action film...not a comedy. Make sure you stay through the end credits not just because of the hidden scene at the end but also because of the social message McKay and Ferrell want you to leave with that they show through graphics that feel like a short documentary for Michael Moore's book Stupid White Men. It was refreshing and leaves you thinking as well. I don't know if The Other Guys will join the elite on my list of favorite comedies just yet. That's not the way favorite movies work. I need to see if it stands the test of time. I do think that it has the potential too and I personally can't wait to see it again.
The Other Guys (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: A