Thursday, August 12, 2010

Movie Review: The Other Guys

There are two different kind of movie stars: actors and celebrities. Sometimes these two classifications overlap somewhat on actors who through their incredible skill in their profession combined with strong personalities manage to become the best of both worlds. But then there are the people on the two extremes. There are actors who are talented and do what they do solely because they love to act, their aspirations for fame and fortune on the sidelines. Then there are celebrities who have little to no talent, but who are charismatic or pretty enough that they've managed to create a career for themselves through the desire to be rich and famous.

Guess which kind this guy is.

One example of the latter kind of movie star is a man whom I have often loathed with a passion matching that which I usually reserve for movies like Twilight or Half Nelson. That man is Will Ferrell. There are no words that can accurately describe my opinion of this man and his usual so-called "comedy," so I am going to describe it in the way that best suits me as TheFaceGuy: through interpretive comedic art.

Almost everything that I have ever seen this man do I have hated. After a while, I learned to avoid his movies due to the fact that, 95% of the time, he makes me want to break something. The sad thing about this is that on rare occasion, he does something that puts me in complete stitches. For example, a few years ago he and Jack Black presented the Oscar for best original song. Seriously, go onto Youtube and watch that clip. It's great. He also did a movie that I really loved: Stranger Than Fiction. That's another great movie - it's smart and funny without drowning you in Slapstick Ocean.

What did these two things have in common, other than the actor himself? Simple. He wasn't overdoing it. In fact, he was being incredibly straight-faced. When he tries, Will Ferrell is one of the best Straight-Faced comedians that I have ever seen. When he does it right, it's a real joy to watch.

Now, when I saw trailers for The Other Guys, my original plan was to avoid it. But then it got good reviews, and we were going to the theaters anyways so that we could see Step Up 3D. So, after we saw a movie about dance gang warfare, we went on to see a crime comedy/action thriller. Now, I was already in a bad mood because of the previous film, and seeing a movie starring Ferrell was not helping the "Make TheFaceGuy More Cheerful" fund.

Me at the movies. Did I mention that I spilled my Blue Raspberry icee all over myself?

So, anyway, my anticipation meter was not at what one might call "High."

I don't know if that contributed to how much I enjoyed this movie, but I wouldn't be surprised.

The Other Guys is one of those few movies where Ferrell plays it down, staying calm and straight for most of the film, despite the fact that his lines are generally ridiculous. It's the kind of humor that builds. At the beginning of a scene you might not even catch it, but by the end you can't breathe because your sides hurt too much. Of course, he doesn't maintain it the entire time - once or twice he does slip into the usual vernacular. However, for the most part the movie is pretty decent.

Admittedly, it's at its best in the very beginning. While the acting is pretty good throughout, the first half hour does have the best The Other Guys brings to the table. Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson have cameos early on as the cops that most police thrillers would focus on. Also, there's an absolutely wonderful monologue about tuna fish learning to crave the taste of lion. I wish I could recreate it here - it's hysterical.

Gonna go hunt some lions.

Now, I'll be honest. Though I did enjoy this movie, it's certainly not a work of art. It's fun and entertaining - which admittedly is what this sort of movie is supposed to be - but there's not a lot of substance. The plot is almost an afterthought, something used as an engine through which the two main characters develop their relationship. Sadly, the movie also peters out as it goes, so the second half isn't nearly as entertaining as the first. While Will Ferrell was certainly better in this movie than he usually is, the movie itself suffers from the lack of depth and development that is usually attributed to his characters.

This movie is fun. It may not be a blast, but it definitely has a certain audible bang. That said, it's not something that I would go out of my way to see in the theaters. See this movie - but wait until its out on DVD.

Final Grade: C+

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