The Other Guys Blu-ray ReviewDecember 22, 2010
If you love director Adam McKay and Will Ferrell's goofball collaborations (the best being Anchorman), then you can't go wrong with The Other Guys (2010). The novel ingredient this time out is action, and not just slap-stick but real car chase and bullet whizzing "action." Sam Jackson and Dwayne Johnson open as rock-star cops fighting crime with hard edged style (including a car driven through a passenger filled bus as Sam delivers his trademark tongue in cheek lines -"did someone call 9-1-holy shit!"- only to shoot out the other side with guns blazing to nab offending perps), all to the devotion of New York residents ignoring millions in property damage as long as their city is kept safe by beloved hometown celebrities.
This story is really about its namesake, "The Other Guys," the lowly souls who don't get the spotlight or break big criminal investigations... until now. Ferrell stars as Detective Allen Gamble, an accountant who adores paperwork and has never fired his weapon (though busts that cherry uproariously with an "office pop"), partnered with Mark Wahlberg as Detective Terry Hoitz whose career was stymied by his accidental shooting of a local baseball star (now consistently introduced as "the cop who shot Derek Jeter"). Ferrell's deadpan delivery of some truly absurd dialog ("I was so drunk, I thought a tube of toothpaste was astronaut food") is well paired with the overtly macho Wahlberg who barks lines with maximum volume and rage to "over act" his colleagues.
Other Guys may have the most structure of any of McKay's films with a pseudo earnest effort at a buddy cop actioner sprinkled with liberal amounts of comedic inanity. While the machismo is decently done, humor is sustained by running gags like hot chicks being inexplicably drawn to Gamble (who is clueless to their beauty) causing Hoitz to go into over-driven bewilderment and lust when he meets Mrs. Gamble (played by Eva Mendes), a gang of roving tramps having sex parties in parked cars and Hoitz being so over the top angry in most scenes (hilariously addressed when Gamble goes on a "big boy pants" counter rant). Though my favorite bit is when the duo approach a building expecting to uncover a break in their case only to narrowly avoid an explosion. Writhing in pain, they deride movies where stars duplicitously escape without injury in similarly cliched scenarios.
If you thought Talladega Nights or Step Brothers were pointlessly stupid (as opposed to gloriously stupid) then there is little that may change your mind here. The narrative hi-jinks consistently push believability followed by the characters earnest reflections on how absurd their world is. McKay and Ferrell's track record speaks for itself, and The Other Guys is more of the gut-busting same with the addition of some solid action sequences. Days after viewing I'm still chuckling at subversively daft sketches that I suspect will rise to Anchorman levels of stature.
Sony's BD of The Other Guys carries the "pumped up" luster of a Hollywood blockbuster. The 1080p transfer is slick, oozes with razor sharp detail and almost distracting vividness. Black levels are deep and a nice sheen of grain gives a filmic touch while the 2.40:1 wide framing accentuates the physical stunts. Negatively the visual composition and color palette are somewhat bland (par for McKay's films), skin tones run hot (tending towards orange) and I caught minute touches of black crush. These complaints aside, this is technically competent high-def action/comedy viewing.
Since action is key, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack delivers pounding bass and noticeable surround use highlighted by squealing car chases, roaring helicopters and shootouts whizzing through your rear speakers. When the physical feats subside, comedic dialog takes over which there is never any issue discerning. Eclectic musical choices range from TLC (which is part of a running joke) to the Black Eyed Peas, the Foo Fighters and a remix of the Bee Gees. While not all the tunes are my favorites and I wouldn't exactly call the audio composition subtle or precise, there is no faulting the fidelity and powerhouse delivery of this lossless track which actually outpaces its HD video counterpart.
Beyond The Feature
The obvious bonus is inclusion of the "Unrated" version of the film (in addition to the theatrical) adding nine minutes of footage comprised of dialog that pushes socially polite boundaries with its absurdity. I'd recommend indulging for maximum enjoyment.
Other extras include:
"Mom"-mentary - McKay and Ferrell have never provided informative commentaries but rather gag-fests where participants joke around during viewing. To shake things up, the mothers of Adam McKay (director), Christopher Henchy (producer), and Will Ferrell are enlisted for this track. This falls somewhere between novel and gimmicky as the maternal units comment astutely on production details mixed with reminiscences of their sons' youth and thoughts on the vulgar language and gags employed. Like it or not, this is definitely different.
Line-O-Rama (8:56, HD) - A montage of the awesomely off the wall dialog.
Gag Reel (6:17, HD) - I'm surprised anyone kept a straight faced during filming and here are some of the slip-ups.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (30:24, HD) - These are as funny as anything in the movie with a "play all" option to make it easy.
Flash Forwards (1:45, HD) - Shorts hilariously following consequences of action in the movie.
Alternate Action (2:42, HD) - Extra footage filmed for action sequences taking it even further over the top.
Wasn't That??? (15:00, HD) - Tongue in cheek featurette covering all the main actors.
Crash and Burn (10:06, HD) - Deals with balancing "straight" action in a goof-ball comedy.
Why Are There Brits In This Movie? (6:41, HD) - Pokes fun at Steve Coogan's involvement in the film and his inexplicable British accent and culture.
Rob Riggle Likes to Party (2:32, HD) - Takes Riggle's aggressive attitude from the film further.
We Shouldn't Kiss Chicken (1:16, HD) - Game played to see who backs down from kissing the other person first.
Mark Wahlberg's Eating Contest Entourage (3:33, HD) - "Nacho Libre", a friend Mark Wahlberg has know from childhood, eats anything often to his gastrointestinal distress.
Bed Bath and Way Beyond (4:06, HD) - Michael Keaton's character has a second job at Bed, Bath and Beyond. This extended scene deals with just how far the "beyond" can go.
Lendl Global Commercial (:39, HD) Faux commercial for the company portrayed in the film.
Extreme Close Up (5:17, HD) - On set interviews with extreme close ups of the actors and crew at odd angles. Dwayne Johnson keeps cracking up during this.
"Pimps Don't Cry" Music Video (3:50, HD) - Eva Mendes and Cee Lo Green sing the song from the movie over Bond type silhouettes.
Everyone Hates the DVD Guy (4:47, HD) - Joke about a guy intrusively filming background footage for the DVD. This is easily the weakest extra.
There is also "Added marker footage" that will display a symbol during the unrated version to let you know what bits are extra. Kinda cool since you wonder how much of the inanity actually got shown in theaters. Lastly there is BD-Live access including Movie IQ which allows you to view production details during viewing. I've personally never found much worth in this Sony feature, but you might.
The Other Guys is being called the funniest Ferrell movie since Anchorman, and who am I to disagree? This is my type of stupid comedy, causing such overwhelming laughter at points I had to scramble to rewind what I missed. Not sure if McKay and Ferrell can keep cranking out this level of quality, but if their efforts prevent further duds from Will, like Land of the Lost or Semi-Pro, I'm all for it. Sony's BD gives us nice HD video and forceful lossless audio with an extra nine minutes of off the wall humor in the "unrated" version and over 100 minutes of extras, most well worth your attention.
- Robert Searle
Buy The Other Guys on Blu-ray for a discounted price at Amazon.com (December 14, 2010 release date).
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