THE OTHER GUYS By Gary Murray Starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg Written by Adam McKay and Chris Henchy Directed by Adam McKay Running time 107 MPAA Rating PG-13 Selig Film Rating Cable The action buddy comedy had its heyday a few decades back. Flicks like Bad Boys and the Lethal Weapon assaulted the Cineplex screen, giving laughs and explosions in equal measure. Like all genres, they eventually ran their course. In the last few years, the films have been more the fodder of parody. With Hot Fuzz and Cop Out the genre has become more of a wink and a nod than a straightforward bit of film-making. Now late into the game, comes The Other Guys. The film starts with two detectives played by Samuel L. Jackson and The Rock. As our little play opens, they are in high pursuit of a car load of suspects. Our guys are driving a perfect classic little Cutlass SS, so everyone knows that it will not survive the chase. In a stunning bit of cars jumps and bus explosions, the bad guys are apprehended. Our cops confiscate the illegal gains, a quarter pound of marijuana. Following this misdemeanor crime that caused millions of damages, the detectives are back in the station. Too cool to do all the paperwork, the details fall on The Other Guys, detectives who work in the background The butt of the department are Alan Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg). Yes, there are losers among the losers. When a tragedy occurs, there is an opening for two cool, rear-kicking detectives. Terry sees this as a chance to redeem himself but Alan wants nothing more than to be a police accountant. It seems that both have an event in their past that has caused them to be in the background. Alan notices a code violation on a series of buildings and it sends up a red flag with a foreign investor (Steve Coogan) which leads to a confrontation with a bunch of hired guns. The twisting and turning plot is more of an excuse to discover the back story of the two leads. We are also introduced to Alan's wife (Eva Mendes) who is there to be a lust reaction for Terry. The three of them having dinner is a highlight in the story. The two cops use their skills in deduction and law enforcement to discover the nefarious plot. Along the ways we get all the cliche plot points and hacked scenes that make up the genre. The one part that nails down the parody vs reality is when a building blows up and the two cops have a true, non-Hollywood reaction to the event. It is the single funniest moment of the film. There is the biggest flaw with The Other Guys, the lack of funny moments. While a few scenes put a sizzle on the comedy griddle there are giant lapses where the laughs are few and far between. Some of the comedy bits are weak to the point sticking out. When one waits and waits for a daub of humor and it falls flat, the level comes across as inconsistent. Adam McKay and Chris Henchy have turned in some humorous stuff on the screen before but with The Other Guys it all feels like to much of the same thing. Car crashes as punchlines went out with The Blues Brothers. Mark Wahlberg gave a surprisingly decent reading playing a low key version of the Mel Gibson character from Lethal Weapon. The problem is that his character is a bit schizo, pining for his partners woman in one scene and trying to get back with a former love in another. It is as if he were just playing different parts in different skits based on the same idea. I know that Will Ferrell can be funny. His SNL days were some of the best moments on television. His film career has not be as solid. Though he makes tons of cash for the producers of his films, few are gems of comedy. With every one great role, he delivers about 5 weak ones. This is another weak one. Eva Mendes is given anything more to do than be stunning in a tight dress, which she does with a filled out grace. Michael Keaton is the head of the department and has a moment of 'Hey, isn't that Michael Keaton?'. It is a total waste of his talents but is is great to see him on the big screen. The Other Guys is not so much a film as it is a ride. It is planned to be a diversion, something to take ones mind off the hot Summer days while being in the cool of a theater. It is nothing one has see, just something to waste time with.

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