My movie commentaries are rarely timely in this blog. I’d love to be able to talk about today’s great thing and tell you all to run out and see it. Unfortunately, it’s probably already left the theatres in The States (where I believe it was released in the late summer) and it’s already been out here in the UK for a couple of weeks.
Well, screw it, I’m still going to tell you to run out and see it. After all, it’s not every day that you get to see Marky Mark in a comedy role. If it’s still playing, go go go! If it’s on DVD by now get some people around and pop some popcorn.
151. The Other Guys
Here are some reasons to go and see this blockbuster, if you haven’t already:
1. Adam McKay rarely disappoints. Some facts for you comedy fans out there: He’s one of the founders of The Upright Citizens Brigrade (the famous improv troupe/school that has spawned many successful comic performers–putting it on the same level as The Groundlings and Second City.) Speaking of Second City, McKay studied with Del Close. If improv was a religion, and to some it is, Del Close would at least be an important prophet if not the messiah. Studying improv with Del Close is like studying handsomeness with Brad Pitt. They’re both experts at their craft. McKay is also the co-creator of Funny or Die. You’ve seen “The Landlord” sketch on funnyordie.com haven’t you? It features his adorable daughter Pearl and comedy partner Ferrell. Here’s a funnyordie.com clip promoting The Other Guys. Ferrell plays his character Allen Gamble in a faux NYPD recruitment video:
McKay is six-foot five. That’s tall! Let’s rank Adam McKay movies, shall we? In order of preference, I’d go with: 1. Stepbrothers, 2. The Other Guys, 3. Anchorman, 4. Talladega Nights
2. Mark Wahlberg is an unexpected delight. But, that’s not entirely surprising, I suppose, for a McKay/Ferrell project. They’ve successfully turned other actors (who are known more for dramatic roles) into hot comedy commodities. Look at John C. Reilly. Prior to Talladega Nights I only ever saw him in the blue-collar/heart of gold/rough of face type of role. Now, I think he’s hilarious! McKay and Ferrell perform similar wizardry with Wahlberg. I actually LIKE him as an actor now. Before, I thought he was sort of an entitled little wannabe who kept getting lucky with good reviews for his film work. Now, he’s cool in my book. Thanks The Other Guys! Hating one less person in the world is actually quite a relief.
Here’s a quote from an interview featured at collider.com (collider) which highlights a reason this most recent comedy pairing works so well:
Ferrell: You know, I think we had a big read through for Sony and Mark, like, killed it. I thought I was really bad and I was just like “Oh my god, Mark is so funny.” There was just something about writing stuff in his voice that made us laugh so hard just how serious he was and we were like “Look at you. Why do you do that?” and we were just like “Oh. We can’t take it “. It was probably in those first couple of read throughs and then my kind of earnestness and like “I disagree with you” you know? I made a point and I kept telling Adam and Chris that we have to make sure that “Mark’s a tough guy. Will’s the nerdy guy. Like, I have to have a toughness also. Even though I’m an eccentric weirdo, I have to have to be confident enough to push him back.” Once we started putting that in the script, it was great. By rehearsal it was just like “I cannot wait to shoot this scene”. There were just times where he is just looking at me and I can’t look at him. Whether it’s the slow burn or when he gets pissed, it just made us laugh.
Here’s a perfect clip to illustrate what Ferrell is blathering on about here:
3. Eva Mendes is hot. It’s really easy, it seems, to completely ignore the female supporting roles in male-dominated comedies…but McKay usually does a pretty good job of giving them SOMETHING to work with. They’re never just completely JUST the ‘straight romantic counterpart’. For instance, I think Christina Applegate holds her own with the fraternity of awesome buffoons in Anchorman. In Stepbrothers, both Mary Steenburgen and Kathryn Hahn are memorable. Talladega Nights has Jane Lynch. Jane Lynch!
4. The supporting cast. Steve Coogan, legendary British comedy icon, unfortunately, is not used to great effect. However, Michael Keaton is a highlight. There’s a running gag about TLC songs that gets better each time it calls back. Likewise, Dwaye Johnson (the Rock), and Samuel Jackson pop in to make with the funny.
My only caveat is this…please watch this film with a large group of people. Unless you’re reading a book, things are always funnier in groups. When it comes to comedy audiences, size DOES matter. Laughter is infectious and the more people laughing around you, the better…