Ok, before I start my review of this particular movie, there are two things you have to know about my opinion on Will Ferrell. He is a divisive, love him or loathe him type for most but I think I have come up with a couple of things that allow me to do a little of both.
Firstly let me state that I think Will Ferrell has never been funnier than he was in Anchorman, which I count as one of the top 25 comedies of all time and secondly I think that Will Ferrell tends to be at his best when working with Adam McKay whether that is on SNL, the Funny or Die website, the Movies or his Evening with George Bush. Apart from that (and me quite enjoying Stranger than Fiction and Blades of Glory) I can see why people would retreat from his big-budget CGI crap-o-ramas and his latest sports movie of the week.
The Other Guys, thankfully, falls into the first of the Will Ferrell camps as it is co-written and directed by Mr. McKay. Out of their four movies together I thought this had some of the funniest moments in it, just behind Anchorman but before Talledega Nights and Step Brothers but isn't necessarily as consistently funny as any of them.
Basically the plus points of this action comedy are Will Ferrell (for once playing delusional and simple rather than totally stupid and idiotic), Michael Keaton (who hasn't been this funny since The Dream team), Eva Mendes (weirdly enough), the direction (although the action falls flat) and it's sublime ridiculousness (it is by far the most overtly dark and surreal of their films since Anchorman). If you like even half of his other collaborations with Adam McKay and enjoy films like Dragnet or Hot Fuzz then you are going to like this film. It was, for me, so far the comedy of the year.
One of the negatives to this film is a rather muddled plot that sort of gets in the way of all the riffing and fantastically absurd set pieces, which is odd because you'd think it would be the other way round.
This is really the first of these films to attempt to have a real plot, rather than just a flimsy concept to hang a string of jokes on but in this case it elongates an already lengthy film, slows it down in parts, confuses and threatens to derail it altogether. It was a shame because a film that could've had me leaving the cinema guffawing in delight at some of the truly hysterical one liners or the triumphant comic return to the screen of Mr.Keaton instead had me wandering out thinking 'what just happened? I don't fully get it' and thanks to those infamous, great but depressing end credits, 'right, I might as well go live in a hut somewhere and chew my own foot off because we're all doomed!'
I mean, all kudos to them for trying to whip a bit of post-financial collapse message into the whole proceedings but a message just doesn't work with their sort of comedy unfortunately and also sticks what could have been a knock-about cops and robbers movie into a certain time and place that will, over-time date the hell out of some parts of it.
Also, I don't get Marky Mark. What's all the fuss about? Maybe I haven't lived in the States long enough but where did this whole arrogant, I'm too hard, supposedly menacing attitude come from? Why do people think of him as some strong, cool, seething ton of testosterone? Don't get me wrong he is a perfectly ok actor and I have liked quite a few of his movies but I just don't get this mystique he seems to have. I know that one of the jokes of this movie is meant to be this, apparently, gruff tough guy is being surprising in a comedy but what if you just think, well he's an actor, he wears make up for a living and used to be a ridiculous white rapper? It still works and he is ok in it but it could've been anyone.
Lastly they could take a slice out of Edgar Wright's pie and sort the action out a bit. Considering the incredible shots in Talledega Nights of car crashes and explosions, the predominantly car based action here feels a tad plodding and slap-dash.
Again, for a film that I loved and laughed through as much as this one, I have blathered on about the negative quite a bit and I don't mean to make out like I didn't enjoy it because I really did. Especially the scene when their car is returned to the police station for the first time and they are told the list of stuff that happened to it whilst it was abandoned, that had me wide eyed and wide mouthed hooting like crazy person hopped up on sherbet and smack. This is definitely one I'll be buying and watching again and again. They just need to find a better editor to cut their stuff down to size and if they want to have a plot as well as chortles then they need to sprinkle the plot coherently throughout the whole thing and not just try to cram it all into the tie-up at the end.
8.5 out of 10 sunny side up eggs.
Points from the Misses - 9 out of 10 sunny side up eggs.