This marks the fourth feature film collaboration between star Ferrell and writer/director McKay, and their best since the bona-fide modern classic Anchorman. Where the middle two, Talladega Nights and Step Brothers often found Ferrell as a screaming man-child, here he’s thankfully toned down as a Forensic Accountant. But don’t worry, there’s more than enough crazy to go around.
On that note, how great is it to see Michael Keaton back in a big-time comedy? He almost steals the whole damn film as the TLC quoting Police Chief, often waltzing away with scenes with a twinkle in his eye. Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson as the star cops are also having a ball of a time during their brief time. Mark Wahlberg is perhaps the weakest link; though he seems more suited to something like this than a heavyweight drama like The Lovely Bones, he doesn’t quite carry it away. He’s certainly not awful but he’s not The Departed great either.
The Other Guys doesn’t pay homage to or mark the genre and sub-genres of the buddy-cop film as much as the fantastic Pegg/Frost/Wright Hot Fuzz did. The team here aren’t interested in playing around with genre convention too much, instead using the buddy-cop actioner as a springboard for their own type of absurdist humour. Absurdist, but with more than a touch of anger. McKay is downright pissed off at the financial sector, but cannot help finding the humour in it. It’s the first Global Recession comedy.
Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed the film itself, the viewing experience was so bad it’s become nearly all I can think about. Aside from the usual monkey-idiots on their cell-phones throughout (why?! Why do you spend your money on a film you’re not even going to watch?!), this screened in Cinema 1 at Readings Courtney Central. The thing with Cinema 1 is the acoustics are rubbish and when the cinema isn’t full of bodies to soak up the sound, there is an echo effect. Sadly, this is nothing new at Readings – it’s been like this since day one.