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The Cynical Optimist vs. The Other Guys

The Cynical Optimist vs. The Other Guys

I’m a peacock… you gotta let me fly!

In ”The Other Guys”, the latest collaboration between Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, two mismatched New York City detectives seize an opportunity to step up like the city’s top cops whom they idolize — only things don’t quite go as expected.

Mark Wahlberg plays Terry Hoitz, a top-notch NYPD detective whose past mistakes in the line of duty have landed him a permanent desk job. Sharing that desk permanently is forensic account Allen Gamble, played by quintessential man-child Will Ferrell. You see where this is going?

Don’t get me wrong, ”The Other Guys” is out-and-out absurd and manages to be rather amusing as well. The problem is, I feel obligated to laugh at this film, to express amusement at Will Ferrell’s ridiculousness.

After making comedies like ”Anchorman”, ”Talladega Nights” and ”Step Brothers”, the formula that made Ferrell and McKay’s collaborations such smash successes has worn out its welcome indefinitely.

The formula? Throw as much randomness and absurdity against the wall as possible and see what sticks. Quantity over quality – if you throw out one thousand jokes and assorted gags, you’re guaranteed at least one hundred laughs, right?

There are plenty of parts in ”The Other Guys” that miss the mark altogether, and yet we laugh – because it’s illogical not to. It’s inconceivable that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson would jump off a skyscraper and fall 20 stories to their death – and yet, in the comedic landscape of 2010 – a terrain cultivated by Adam McKay, Judd Apatow and Todd Philips – it’s nothing new.

Between Mark Wahlberg shooting Derek Jeter and Will Ferrell’s alter ego, a pimp named “Gator,” ”The Other Guys” is chock-full of the structured randomness we’ve grown accustomed to at the movie theater.

If you’ve somehow made it this far without growing tired of Will Ferrell (meaning, you enjoyed ”Semi-Pro” and ”Land of the Lost”) then I’m sure you’ll piss your pants during this movie. Otherwise, you’ll probably feel like me – obliged to laugh at a man partly responsible for the death of the modern comedy.

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