Film Review: The Other Guys

20/09/2010

The Other Guys is not as funny as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. That is not to say it isn’t a decent comedy, but merely that it does not reach the peaks of hilarity of Adam McKay’s 2004 film. Contending with the likes of Date Night and Dinner for Schmucks, however, The Other Guys becomes one of the better comedies of 2010.

Detective Terry Hoitz is sick of doing paperwork for hero cops Highsmith and Danson. When the opportunity arises, Hoitz and his reluctant partner Allen Gamble attempt to fill their shoes, but things don’t go according to plan…

 The Other Guys combines elements of the buddy cop movie, comedy and action to produce a very entertaining film. Whilst the narrative is linear and fairly predictable, the film amuses sufficiently so that this is not a problem. For example, juxtaposing a headstrong, aggressive cop with a goofy and more placid partner is not highly original, yet the relationship works due to a good script and chemistry between the pair.

The Other Guys is successful because of the various strands of humour at play. On a surface level, the antagonism (intentional or not) of Gamble towards Hoitz, and Hoitz reaction to this is a great source of amusement, particularly in the first half of the film. Elsewhere, the humour is sometimes juvenile but good fun nonetheless. The multiple references featured in the film (everything from Derek Jeter to Enron to Star Wars) are also a site for comedy, although sadly a number of these may be lost on some audience members. Finally, The Other Guys works well in the way in the way it skewers the conventions of the action and crime film. Hardened cop Hoitz has become adept in ballet only to make fun of the kids who took ballet, whilst Captain Gene Mauch also works a part-time job in retail.

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg work well as the odd couple, with Wahlberg sending up his alpha male image. Eva Mendes performs well as Gamble’s unlikely wife. The Other Guys provides a welcome return to the mainstream for Michael Keaton, whose flair for comedy remains as strong as ever.

Coming at the end of a season bereft of good comedies, The Other Guys is an excellent caper; perfect if you want to switch your brain off and have a few laughs.

Advertisements

Film Review: The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans

27/05/2010

Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant is a peculiar film, but one well worth a watch. Its strength is in the fact that it does not follow more traditional approaches to filmmaking, the result of which is a compelling film.

Lieutenant Terence McDonagh is charged with investigating the murder of a Senegalese family in post-Katrina New Orleans. His drug and gambling addictions, however, interfere with solving the crime…

What begins as a noir drama becomes increasingly surreal in a style often associated with David Lynch. As McDonagh descends further into criminality, the story takes several turns and it is hard to predict how the film will conclude. With so many highly predictable films released of late, this makes a refreshing change.

Overall, Nicolas Cage gives a good performance as McDonagh, although at times it seems that he is trying so hard to give a first-rate performance that it comes across as forced. The supporting cast performs well, with Xzibit and Jennifer Coolidge in particular giving believable performances. Eva Mendes is fine as love interest Frankie, although the casting of such a beautiful actress in this role is a tad unconvincing.

The cinematography and production design work well to create visuals that match the seedy nature of the narrative. The soundtrack is sometimes inspired, adding to the uncanny sequences.

By not following the rules, Herzog has created a film that throws up unexpected incidents and strange but amusing scenes in what could have been a straightforward crime thriller. The Bad Lieutenant is an intriguing film, offering a modicum of the unforeseen in a sea of predictability.