The Other Guys Is A Work Of Genius

Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell star in Adam McKay's The Other Guys. Courtesy of Sony.

Adam McKay’s The Other Guys, starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, is a genius parody of the buddy cop action comedy genre.

If you haven’t watched the film yet, there is a post-credits scene.

After watching Don’t Look Up earlier this month, I’ve been in a mood to rewatch Adam McKay’s earlier work. The Other Guys is one of those films that serves as both a buddy cop action comedy and a commentary on the financial crimes in the early 2000s. All you need to do is watch the statistics that appear during the end credits. The earlier films of McKay’s post-SNL career have always had some aspect of satire but I think this is where his scripts started to take a turn. A film like Anchorman may be hysterical but it’s also saying something about the sexist workplace of the era. When you have a filmmaker of McKay’s caliber, the opportunity to comment on financial fraud can’t be ignored. I mean, you already have Bernie Madoff on your mind!

Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz are both NYPD detectives. Gamble is a forensic account but Hoitz can lose his temper at any moment. He still hasn’t recovered from the time he shot Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. Nobody gives them any respect, not even jokester detectives Martin (Rob Riggle) and Fosse (Damon Wayans Jr.). Meanwhile, rock star detectives Chris Danson (Dwayne Johnson) and P. K. Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) getting all the praise around the office. Gamble is always sucking up to do the paperwork that they don’t want to. Danson and Highsmith might get so much praise but their habits lead to millions in property damage.

What’s a simple scaffolding permit violation turns into be something much bigger. It turns out that Sir David Ershon (Steve Coogan), a multibillionaire), is covering the losses by a client, Lendl Global. To no surprise, Lendl CEO Pamela Boardman (Anne Heche) hires a group of mercenaries led by Roger Wesley (Ray Stevenson). Boardman is out for vengeance and will settle for nothing less!

When you think of things in this film that are completely absurd, it’s the fact that Hoitz is surprised that Gamble married Sheila (Eva Mendes) and previously dated Christinith (Natalie Zea). Even at the end of the film, Hoitz is surprised by a blonde woman complementing Gamble. Another thing that I find hard to believe is Captain Gene Mauch (Michael Keaton) having to work a second job at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Even though the film came together by accident, Ferrell and Wahlberg have great chemistry together. Their detective characters might not get along initially but by the end of the film, the two go on quite the journey together. Cut to a few years later and the duo would be starring in the Daddy’s Home franchise.

Talladega Nights has an action component by the mere fact that it’s a film about racing. In this film, McKay takes the action up to a whole different level. There are car chases, helicopter chases, etc.! One such chase ends with a car flying into the Trump Tower on 5th Avenue. The action works, too, because of working with cinematographer Oliver Wood. Wood isn’t just a McKay veteran but previously shot the Bourne films among others.

Because of the financial crimes aspect, I think this is a film that could be made today. Make no mistake that there’s certainly something to be said about police culture as we currently know it. There’s no shortage of commentary on that end. All you have to do is take a look at what happened during last summer’s riots and how unarmed people are still getting killed. I could go on and on. What could be seen as a simple buddy cop comedy in 2010 isn’t so simple today. But again, because of the financial crimes aspects, the film still holds up today. Plus, it’s the far superior film to the other cop comedy released in the same year.

Like McKay’s earlier works, The Other Guys is also a work of genius in how it works as both a parody and offers something to say about financial fraud.

SCREENWRITERS: Adam McKay & Chris Henchy
CAST: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Ray Stevenson, with Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson

Sony released The Other Guys in theaters on August 6, 2010.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.