The Other Guys [Blu-Ray] Adam McKay

The Other Guys [Blu-Ray] Adam McKay
Of the two odd couple buddy cop flicks released this year, The Other Guys comes out ahead in laughs and plot, but stumbles in its attempt to shift to a safer grade of raunchy surrealism. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg play detectives Gamble and Hoitz, department laughingstock desk jockeys: the former for being a "paper bitch" afraid of taking risks and the latter for earning the nickname "Yankee Clipper." So the audience understands just how unspectacular these two are, the film opens with an over-the-top shootout and car chase with cock-of-the-walk super-cops Highsmith and Danson (Samuel L. Jackson, pissing fire all over the scenery and loving it, and Dwayne Johnson, mugging with that apple-pie-warming smile and loving it). While handling the paperwork aftermath of this "heroic" rampage, a dynamic of barely repressed loathing is established between Hoitz and Gamble, mostly on Hoitz's side. An exchange about a lion versus tuna battle where Gamble attacks the flaws in Hoitz's logic is a piece of masterful wit on Ferrell's part. Possibly the film's best gag though is the awesomely unexpected and ridiculous removal of its super-cops to make way for "the other guys" to get in over their heads investigating a heavy international financial fraud case. Steve Coogan, Anne Heche and Ray Wise turn in solid supporting work, but Eva Mendes, as Gamble's "homely" wife, and the reintroduction of Michael Keaton to the comedy world, as Captain Gene, were strokes of casting brilliance. It runs a little long, which is less apparent in the funnier unrated version, but The Other Guys' main issue is a lack of comedic focus. When it embraces the ludicrous humour and rating-pushing nastiness of a hobo orgy in the back of Gamble's Prius, it feels like a Ferrell and McKay film, but too many attempts at safer laughs fall flat. Then there's Wahlberg's incessant yelling and the often lame posturing and bullying of rival detectives Martin and Fosse to distract from Ferrell's much more subtle and nuanced performance (wait, what? I just said "subtle and nuanced" and meant them about Will Ferrell?). The action sequences, especially Wahlberg's, are played straight and smoothly shot, which bodes well for fans if McKay does indeed tackle filthy superhero comic The Boys next, as potentially rumoured. Unsurprisingly, the Blu-Ray is jammed with extras of varying quality. "Line-O-Rama" has too much Martin and Fosse; a gag reel has more laughs than the movie, with nauseatingly hysterical variations on what Dirty Mike and the boys did to Gamble's car. Among the deleted scenes, there are gags at least as funny as many that made one of the final cuts. There's a standard "Making Of," an alternate car chase, behind-the-scenes looks at stunts and a host of cast and crew shenanigans, including Wahlberg's "extreme eater" childhood friend, a game of "We Shouldn't Kiss" chicken, "Extreme Close-Up" interviews, Rob Riggle freaking out about partying with a hatchet and a fake insult match between Coogan and McKay. Just when you think your eyeballs are about to bleed there's still a ton of Keaton outtakes, a "Pimps Don't Cry" music video with Cee-lo Green and Eve Mendes, "Everyone Hates the DVD Guy," in which we're treated to numerous freak-outs of questionable authenticity, the concept of "Bad Will Days" and a "Mom-mentary" track that has Ferrell and McKay's mothers offering thoughts about their sons' work, dishing gems like, "This one's got a plot!" and "It's never too early to look at the Rock." Whew. Now I'm as exhausted as Gamble is by Hoitz's yelling, but at least half of it's due to laughter. (Sony)