Elevate Difference

The Other Guys

Adam McKay is one of a million: a writer and director who can put together a great trailer. Too bad the feature presentation of The Other Guys is so long and boring that it chokes on its own machismo.

The underwhelming tragedy of The Other Guys is that Saturday Night Live veteran McKay is the same fellow behind the hilarious Funny or Die short The Landlord and Anchorman. Then again, he’s also the guy behind other Will Ferrell flops like Talladega Nights and Step Brothers. Clearly, the McKay and Ferrell duo is destined to be hit-or-miss.

The Other Guys starts off promising. Two over-the-top cop heroes (Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson) barrel through New York City chasing teenagers who are in possession of a negligible amount of marijuana. They destroy millions of dollars of property and endanger dozens of lives, but they do it to the soundtrack of their own gunfire and acerbic quips. These two men get the glory—and of course, the trophy sex-with-women that goes along with it. The other dozen New York Police Department detectives—they get the paperwork.

This film is the story of two NYPD “other guys.” Desk-ridden detective partners Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) and Allen Gamble (Ferrell) don’t get out from behind their computers much, because one accidentally shot someone and the other craves safety. These two uncover a fishy financial deal, but for reasons completely unexplained (there’s no corruption involved) the police chief and district attorney thwart Hoitz and Gamble’s every move to investigate.

What follows is 107 minutes that will seem like an eternity of you’re-like-a-woman-and-that’s-bad jokes. Because, you see, there are apparently no women in this film’s NYPD (aside from a counselor), and the men basically only insult each other about being effeminate. What defines ladylike in The Other Guys? The way one’s urine sounds hitting a urinal, talking about shooting someone without bragging, and driving a Prius (bonus points for equating environmentalism with emasculation). And what defines manhood? Learning to dance just to make fun of homos, lamenting the fact that your son is bisexual or saying the word bitch ad nauseam. And the thing is, you don’t particularly care if Gamble and Hoitz catch the bad guy (Steve Coogan), because Gamble is an accountant at heart, and Hoitz is just an unrelenting asshole. The bad guy is much more entertaining.

But even if you were following the plot, the barrage of woman-hating language and themes in this film is hugely distracting, although frankly there’s not much to distract from. Aside from the language, there’s the classic (and somehow never not endearing in the world of film) side plot about a girlfriend who went from restraining order to marriage vows in about fifteen minutes since, really, stalking is flattering in romantic courtship.

And then there’s the whole Gamble’s ugly wife jokes. The twist here is that his wife (Eva Mendes) is objectively hot, if you’re into the whole American-beauty-standards ideal. Ferrell’s character spends the whole film lamenting, to her and to others, that she’s an ugly duckling and sucks at cooking. The ways he seems dissatisfied are the things that are traditionally valued in women—beauty and domestic aptitude. Hoitz and the audience wonder throughout the film: What’s the reason for Gamble’s odd point of view? Well, Gamble later confesses that he doesn’t feel he deserves such a wonderful, beautiful wife so he understates her attributes (to say the least) to keep her from leaving him. How sweet, and how unlike real-life domestic violence.

Hands down, the best part of this dud is the credits, which graphically show how a Ponzi scheme works. (I guess all of a sudden this film considers itself to mostly be about finance?) These credits will cool you down from being pissed that you heard the best jokes a month ago when you saw the trailer before Inception. You’ll realize while watching the credits that the inexplicable narration voice you were trying to place is Law & Order’s Ice-T. You’ll also realize you should have lobbied harder to see The Kids Are All Right earlier that evening.

Please, stay away from this drivel. Even the above examples don’t fully capture the constant onslaught of absurd fodder this film gives even the most casual feminist (or person who thinks that women are full humans). Let’s wrap this piece of crap up with a few words of wisdom, courtesy of The Other Guys: “She overreacted… she’s a woman.”

Written by: Hannah Moulton Belec, August 17th 2010

I completely agree with this review. The movie was mostly unfunny and pretty sexist at some points. Even the mostly mediocre Cop Out is a much better rendition of the old standard cop buddy movie set up. The only saving grace to the movie was Michael Keaton.

I just saw this movie last night, and I'd have to say I really liked it. Yes, I too picked up on the "masculinity on crack" theme that pervaded the entire movie and the slanderous jokes that went with it. However, I interpreted it all as a stab at making fun of the fact that our society is actually like that. I thought it was almost a feminist film, in a back-handed/sarcastic sort of way. Yeah, unfortunately there are probably a lot of people that believe all of that stuff, though, so I can also understand how some of you might be angered by it. But for all you feminists that are curious, watch it with a laid-back attitude and don't take everything at face value. I also really enjoyed the ending credits. I'd love to hear more thoughts, as well.

Thanks for the warning!

I'm glad you enjoyed the movie, Maggie, but I have to disagree with your argument that the unrelenting flow of gendered jokes was actually poking fun at that type of humor. I think that assertion gives this film far, far too much credit. If those jokes came from just the "bad" characters, I might be more inclined to waver on my position, but unfortunately "you're like a woman in x and y way" was the theme of every insult for and about every character.

And I didn't even touch the whole pimp subplot. This is a film I'd really like to forget.