Saturday, 28 August 2010
The Other Guys is a Will Ferrell highlight
The success of these films could be attributed to others, such as the legend that is James Caan as Ferrell's father in 'Elf', or the occassional appearance of Jack Black's bandmate Kyle Gass. Also, 'Zoolander' is packed with actors who frequently work together, such as Vince Vaughn and Stiller's now wife Christine Taylor, who worked closely with Stiller on the set of 'Dodgeball'. Also of note are Owen Wilson, who can be seen alongside Stiller in projects such as the 'Meet The Parents' series as well as the 'Night At The Museum' films. Christopher Walken can be seen in 'Zoolander', who later worked alongside Ferrell himself in the film 'Blades Of Glory' in 2007. Although the films are full of such big names, and close casts, Ferrell's fingerprints are all over them, and it has to be said that for comedies that shouldn't have worked, his recent role in 'The Other Guys' definitely follows suit. Ferrell once again turns a Hollywood role into an oppurtunity for alternative comedy, a move that becomes the maker of an unusually hilarious film.
From the opening scene, 'The Other Guys' sets itself out as a police action film. There are an impressive few scenes with NYPD partners Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson chasing criminals through New York streets, which is satisfying to see Jackson in a role that is frequent for him, the weapon-packed and loud-mouthed police officer, and which he is clearly experienced at. In a clever move, the impression of an action thriller is smashed, and Jackson makes it clear that he can play jokes on his own career, in one move, as the cocky Jackson and Johnson fall to their unexpected deaths. If Sam Jackson works effectively as an arrogant police officer, then I see no reason why he shouldn't play one here, and I was left satisfied by the decision to show that he knows it. Their death is a dose of humour in a way that's not usual to Jackson, and done by anyone else would have seemed farcical and pointless, but it was a way to poke fun at his film tradition, and left me feeling satisfied. It also went some of the way to redeeming Johnson for his recent spell of children's films, as it was obviously a great decision to be a part of a scene like that.
So into their shoes step Ferrell and his partner Mark Wahlberg. Similar to Jackson, Wahlberg was hilarious and refreshing to see in a comedy like this. Again in the same style as Samuel L. Jackson, Wahlberg has had a successful career in Hollywood police movies, Martin Scorseze's 'The Departed' being a high point in 2006. Wahlberg plays a police detective who becomes depressed with not being called out of the office for duty anymore, and without wanting to say anything bad about his impressive film history, it's unignorably an amusing role to see a police film veteran such as himself in.
Regrettably not contributing many of his own material, as he isn't allowed many lines in the film, British actor Steve Coogan helps Ferrell to add a touch of alternative comedy to the film. With a well-known stand-up career in Britain, and as writer and star of the timelessly funny 'I'm Alan Partridge' television series, it has been long-awaited that he could gain an international audience. He has worked on occassional international films, such as the recent children's hits 'Percy Jackson' and, again, the 'Night At The Museum' series, but I hope this recent accomplishment alongside Will Ferrell will help him to be seen on the international stage as the alternative comedian he is known as in Britain.
In 'The Other Guys', there are even jokes that I haven't seen done before; in a lot of Hollywood comedies, you can see lines reworked between films, but here there is fresh writing from Adam Mckay, who also had writing credits on Will Ferrell films such as 'Anchorman' and 'Talladega Nights' in 2006. From everyone involved, the film is hilarious in ways that are new and exciting, and should be remembered as a highlight of many careers in the film. I would recommend it and would say it is up to the standards of past films such as 'Anchorman' and 'Zoolander' themselves.