Wednesday, January 10, 2018
The Other Guys
Directed by Adam McKay and written by McKay and Chris Henchy, The Other Guys is the story of two mismatched NYPD detectives who take on a case while other detectives do bigger jobs as they make a discovery involving financial embezzlement and such. The film is a mixture of the buddy-cop films mixed in with humor as well as an exploration into the world of finance as it’s all narrated by rapper/actor Ice-T. Starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Rob Riggle, Damon Wayans Jr., Steve Coogan, Ray Stevenson, and Michael Keaton. The Other Guys is a wild and adventurous film from Adam McKay.
The film follows two mismatched detectives working for the NYPD whose attempt to be taken seriously is met with constant ridicule by other detectives as they take on a case involving the world of finance. It’s a film that is a spoof of sorts of the buddy-cop films yet it also follow two different men who embark on a case that involves a multi-billionaire who has lost money to a client who wants him killed. The film’s screenplay by Adam McKay and Chris Henchy doesn’t just follow these two mismatched partners who aren’t treated with respect but also their effort to get respect from fellow officers despite the fact that neither man are considered great detectives. Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) is a mild-mannered forensic accountant that likes to be on the desk as he’s teamed up with the very hot-tempered Terry Hoitz who is forced to team up with Gamble over an incident where he accidentally shot New York Yankees player Derek Jeter during the World Series. Following the strange death of two widely-revered but cocky detectives, Gamble and Hoitz try to take that spot as they compete with the more-experienced and respected detectives Martin (Rob Riggle) and Fosse (Damon Wayans Jr.).
During the course of their investigation of the billionaire Sir David Ershon (Steve Coogan), Hoitz and Gamble get to know each other as the former is still eager to prove himself that he can be relied on as he’s also having issues with his ex-girlfriend Francine (Lindsay Sloane) due to his own faults. In the latter, Hoitz would learn that Gamble is married to an extremely-beautiful woman in Sheila (Eva Mendes) as well as get the attraction of a lot of beautiful woman that relates to a past that Gamble is covering up. Some of the investigation relating to Sir Ershon’s embezzlement scam is a bit complicated but it’s made up for the situations that Gamble and Hoitz endure as they had to make their reports to their superior in Captain Gene Mauch (Michael Keaton) who works a second job managing a Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Captain Mauch is an oddball character not just for having a second job but also being secretive into what Gamble and Hoitz is trying to uncover. Another quirk that he has is the fact that unknowingly quotes lyrics from the famed 90s R&B group TLC.
McKay’s direction does have elements of style as it relates to a lot of the visual tropes expected in buddy-cop films while it also play with these tropes to create something that is simpler and with an offbeat sense of humor. Shot on location in New York City with additional locations in Staten Island and Albany, the film does play into a world in which its police department is considered one of the best where two men don’t feel like they’re part of that elite group. Even as they endure some very strange moments during their investigation such as talking to a couple who wants Gamble to have sex with his wife since she used to have a relationship with him back in college. While there’s some wide shots for some of the action scenes as well as some establishing shots of the locations. Much of McKay’s direction emphasizes more on close-ups and medium shots to play into the interaction with the characters and the growing partnership between Gamble and Hoitz.
Notably as the latter starts to open up about his anger issues while the former reveals to have a dark side that he’s repressing as his own personal life is about to change. McKay would also take breaks from the humor and action as it relates to the environment Gamble and Hoitz are trying to discover as it relates to Ershon and his business dealings. Notably in a final credits sequence where McKay reveals a lot about some of the financial scandals that happened in real-life showing how big it can affect everything and how it adds to Gamble and Hoitz needing to stop those going after Ershon who is already in trouble for his role. The film’s climax is definitely big as it’s expected in action films but also play into some of the silliness that occurs throughout the climax over the group of mercenaries hired to take out Ershon. Overall, McKay creates a fun and thrilling film about two mismatched partners who step in when everyone else is busy in saving New York City.
Cinematographer Oliver Wood does excellent work with the cinematography as it has elements of style in some of the interiors and exterior scenes at night while much of the daytime exteriors is straightforward. Editor Brent White does brilliant work with the editing as it does play into the many conventional ideas of editing in action films while also providing something straightforward in capturing the humor in the film. Production designer Clayton Hartley, with set decorator George DeTitta Jr. and art director Jim Gloster, does fantastic work with the look of the offices including Ershon’s posh penthouse and a bar that Gamble frequents at. Costume designer Carol Ramsey does nice work with the costumes as it is largely straightforward with the more posh look of Ershon as well as some of the somewhat-skimpy clothing that Sheila wears.
Visual effects supervisor Gregor Lakner does terrific work with a few of the film’s visual effects as it largely relate to some of the action scenes in the film including a helicopter chase scene. Sound editor George H. Anderson does superb work with the sound as it play into the chaos of some of the action as well as the places that Gamble and Hoitz go to during the sequence where they unknowingly take Ershon’s bribes. The film’s music by Jon Brion is wonderful for its low-key score that is a mixture of bombastic orchestral music with some light-hearted jazzy pieces while music supervisor Erica Weis provide a fun mix of music ranging from acts like Little River Band, Phil Collins, Wyclef Jean, the Foo Fighters, Swizz Beatz, Donovan, the Black Eyed Peas, the Hit Crew, Goldfrapp, the White Stripes, Cee-Lo Green with Eva Mendes, Rage Against the Machine, the Mamas and the Papas, and TLC.
The casting by Jennifer Euston and Allison Jones is great as it feature cameo appearances from wrestlers Brian Girard James/Road Dogg Jesse James and Monty Kip Sopp/Bad Ass Billy Gunn, Tracy Morgan, Rosie Perez, and Brooke Shields as themselves at a New York Knicks game, New York Yankees player Derek Jeter as himself, Anne Heche as a CEO who targets Ershon, Josef Sommer as the district attorney who is angry over Gamble and Hoitz’s screw-ups, director Adam McKay as a seedy hobo named Dirty Mike, Bobby Cannavale as a detective who despises Hoitz for shooting Derek Jeter, Rob Huebel as Officer Watts who keeps coming to everyone about putting money into a fund which would play into the third act, Natalie Zea as a former girlfriend of Gamble in Chrisinith, Brett Gelman as Chrisinith’s husband who wants Gamble to fuck her, Tess Kartel as a Brazilian mercenary who is attracted to Gamble, Viola Harris as Sheila’s mother, and Andy Buckley as Ershon’s attorney who is targeted for his actions relating to Ershon’s finances.
Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are terrific in their brief yet respective role as the arrogant detectives Highsmith and Danson as two guys who do so much yet would do stupid things for the NYPD. Rob Riggle and Damon Wayans Jr. are superb in their respective roles as detectives Martin and Fosse as two men who often make fun of Gamble and Hoitz for their incompetence as they try to take in the top spot that was once filled by Danson and Highsmith. Ray Stevenson is fantastic as Roger Wesley as a mercenary leader hired by the people that Ershon had stolen from as he does whatever he can to try and get rid of Gamble and Hoitz. Lindsay Sloane is wonderful as Hoitz’s former girlfriend Francine who isn’t eager to get back with him due to his anger issues as she later realizes why he is flawed as she’s unsure of taking him back.
Steve Coogan is brilliant as Sir David Ershon as a billionaire who gets himself into some trouble over money he’s stolen from a big corporation as he tries to bribe Gamble and Hoitz while dealing with the trouble he’s in. Eva Mendes is fantastic as Gamble’s wife Sheila as a doctor who is super-attractive as she knows about her husband’s dark past as she is something she refuses to take. Michael Keaton is amazing as Captain Gene Mauch as Gamble and Hoitz’s superior who is sympathetic in their need to prove to themselves while he is also offbeat for the fact that he manages a Bed, Bath, and Beyond and unknowingly quotes TLC lyrics as it’s one of Keaton’s funniest performances. Finally, there’s the duo of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in phenomenal performances in their respective roles as Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz as two detectives who are totally different to each other in their personality as Wahlberg captures the eagerness and frustration of a man trying to do right but feels like a screw-up every time. Ferrell is more laid back as someone who is just wanting to do his job but also harbors a dark secret which starts to re-emerge where Ferrell displays a manic sense of energy where he and Wahlberg display a fun chemistry that is a joy to watch.
The Other Guys is a sensational film from Adam McKay that features top-notch performances from Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Steve Coogan, and Michael Keaton. Along with its supporting cast, witty script, high-octane action, and some hilarious moments, it’s a film that manages to do more with buddy-cop action film while taking the time to explore different places while maintaining its humor. In the end, The Other Guys is an incredible film from Adam McKay.
Adam McKay Films: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy - Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - Step Brothers - Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues - The Big Short - (Backseat) – The Auteurs #63: Adam McKay
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