Monday, August 9, 2010

Not much to laugh at with these 'Guys'

“The Other Guys”

Two stars

By Thomas Tracy

Like a taxman from hell with an odd-ball sense of humor few get, Saturday Night Live alum Will Ferrell surfaces every summer to drop a hare-brained comedy in front of movie-going audiences, whether we want it or not.

While we didn’t want to punt it back like we did with last year’s “Land of the Lost,” there’s very little going for his wanna-be buddy cop laugher “The Other Guys” except, perhaps, that it was a touch better than Bruce Willis’ “Cop Out” — which premiered with the same jokes and sight gags in February — proving once and for all that cop comedies are amazingly difficult to pull off.

Working off the theory that the NYPD will hire just about anybody with a pulse, Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg (“The Lovely Bones”) play two unimpressive peace keepers assigned to a rubber gun unit which worships the explosive antics of two daredevil detectives (played to perfection by “Shaft” star Samuel Jackson and former Rock turned actor Dwayne Johnson).

When they uncover a financial scheme that can affect their nearest and dearest, the far-from-dynamic duo try to be the next “it” cop team, even though their combined baggage is too large for the Prius they drive to crime scenes in (and homeless people like to shag in).

All of the jokes, whether good, not-so-good, or just plain horrible, revolve around just how mismatched Ferrell and Whalberg’s characters are, but the joke’s on us — this entire movie suffers from incompatibilities.

For a comedian who usually gets his biggest laughs by playing over the top characters, Ferrell is, to everyone’s chagrin, purposefully, and surprisingly, subdued throughout the film.

Whalberg is just the opposite: for a usually reserved actor who managed to draw the biggest laughs in “Date Night” by just showing up without a shirt, he spends the film wigging out at the drop of a hat. And the more he screams, the less humorous he is.

These casting against type inconsistencies infect the entire movie, deflating this laugh bag before the first joke can be set up.

Yet there were a few highlights — one being the return of Michael Keaton (“Beetle Juice”), who, despite his minor role as Ferrell’s captain, proved he’s being wasted on Hollywood’s celluloid sidelines and should get back in the game.

“The Other Guys.” Starring Will Ferrell and Mark Whalberg. Directed by Adam McKay. Running time: 107 minutes. Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language, violence and some drug material. Playing in Brooklyn at Access Digital Theatres - Pavilion Cinema in Park Slope, UA Court Street Stadium 12 in Downtown, Kent Theatre in Coney Island, UA Sheepshead Bay 14, Bay Ridge Alpine Cinemas and Linden Boulevard Multiplex Cinemas in East New York.


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