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Sunday, July 3, 2011

THE OTHER GUYS (2010)

Odd couple detectives Will Ferrell (fastidious, bookish) & Mark Wahlberg (rambunctious, gonzo) find themselves on a high profile case when precinct glamour boys Dwayne Johnson & Samuel L. Jackson self-destruct on the job. That’s about all there is to this high-concept comedy that ought to be a lot more fun then it is. Ferrell uses his bulky height to good comic effect against the surprisingly diminutive Wahlberg, but never gets out of second gear. A character-defining running joke about his babe-ilicious blindspot keeps stopping Ferrell dead in his tracks. Wahlberg, who’s been photographed to look like a squashed bug, is a natural dick, but does he have to shout out every punchline? Weak as this all is, these guys have the audience rapport & general goodwill to carry us thru the story’s dry patches. Too bad they're stuck with a plot that's nonsensical (okay), but not very funny (not okay). Worse, Adam McKay megs the action scenes without a clue about how it will piece together in the editing room. Is mess the new comic default?, or does he think that he’s making a parody of OTT set pieces? But lack of craft is never funny; it’s insulting . . . and lazy. GRACE NOTE: As the precinct Captain, Michael Keaton saves every scene he’s in with deft acting choices that are wildly original, totally believable, & hilarious. He’s everything the rest of the film ain’t.

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