Directed by Adam McKay
There’s this thing in Hollywood that basically everybody knows about, and it’s called typecasting. Basically, certain actors (and more often than not, these actors are comedians) get stuck playing the same role over and over and over again. The basic reasoning behind this is that it makes everybody money. Audience’s like what a certain actor brings to a project and are willing to pay good money to see them work their schtick. But the problem with typecasting is readily apparent. Eventually, it does get old. Take for instance Michael Cera. In “Arrested Development” he’s a comic genius and easily holds his own with the rest of the cast, which is certainly saying something. Flash-froward 7 years later after the cancellation of the show and with nearly a dozen movies under his belt, I can’t stand the thought of going to another movie in which he plays a watered down version of George-Michael. Even a movie that looks more or less promising like “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” I am refraining from seeing simply because I cannot stand the thought of seeing Cera play every scene the exact same way. For all intents and purposes Cera is a very talented and funny young man, but he is unfortunately cursed with the knowledge of what makes him money and his film choices reflect this greatly. I’ve mentioned this little diatribe because Will Ferrell is the exact same as Michael Cera, but he’s been doing it for even longer. The difference is, I’m still not tired to him.
I have no good reasoning for this. Really, after ten years of watching Will Ferrell make the same comedy over and over again, I should be pretty damn tired of it, but I’m not. Perhaps it’s because he’s just so damn sincere. I don’t think there’s a malicious bone anywhere in Will Ferrell’s body, even if most of the characters he plays are arrogant pricks. He’s so good at pretending to be an asshole, because in real life he’s probably the exact opposite. In “The Other Guys”, Will doesn’t play quite as much of an asshole as in his other films, but he’s still a semi-intelligent individual getting by purely on luck. Mark Wahlberg plays more of the asshole role in this picture, and he does so decently enough, though honestly, I’ve never been the biggest mark for Mr. Wahlberg (you see what I did there? No, I’m not very clever, I know.)
“The Other Guys” has a couple of scenes with some really good laughs (Will Ferrell’s explanation to Mark Wahlberg about not knowing the kind of fight he’s getting into if he were a tiger killing a tuna in the middle of an ocean and Steve Coogan’s brief watching of a pirate themed porno springs to mind) and some well choreographed action pieces (which really put Kevin Smith and his recent “Cop Out” to shame) but at the end of the day it is probably still the weakest collaboration between Ferrell and director/friend McKay. It definitely could have benefited from an R-rating and some more outrageous hate-filled humor. But as I mentioned earlier, the sheer novelty of the film, the fact that after over ten years of making us laugh, that Will Ferrell still has it in him and is not making me pull my hair out in frustration, is a miracle in and of itself. Perhaps he might just go the distance and end up in the ranks of comedic legends like Charlie Chaplin and Woody Allen. Two men that have proven to be exceptions to the rule.