Goofball comedy drags as Hollywood aims for a quick buck

2010-10-04 00:00

REALLY weird comedies that have garnered cult followings are really only funny the second time round: Dumb and Dumber, Austin Powers and Zoolander, for example.

Films like this are less about the entire package and more about the scenes (read “sketches”) in them. Don’t get me wrong — that kind of comedy has its place, like Tonight with Trevor Noah or the Late Show with David Letterman.

However, two hours of it trying to weave its way into a blockbuster film and a story, in my opinion, is just Hollywood capitalising on our need for a laugh.

The Other Guys is the latest goofball feature from the team of actor/producer Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talledega Nights), which features an all-star cast in a send-up of the buddy-cop genre. Ferrell plays Allen Gamble, a mild-mannered, deskbound police detective, who is ostentatiously passive. He’s timid, gullible and irresistible to gorgeous women.

Mark Wahlberg plays the unlucky detective Terry Hoitz, who is generally angry and looking for an excuse to shoot people … in short, a satirical version of the characters Wahlberg plays.

Also in the cast are Eva Mendes as Ferrell’s wife, Michael Keaton as the long-suffering police station captain and Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson, who are there for all of four minutes before they self-destruct in hysterical fashion.

The timing of comic delivery is one thing — and all the actors do fairly well on this front — but moving the story along is the real skill of a two-hour long comedy, and that’s where The Other Guys strikes out.

Somewhere towards the end is an attempt to take on the capitalist moguls of America. It’s an angry look at the fat cats who call the shots, which seems odd in the context of a film full of random, laughable sketches.

The best parts in this movie will stand alone nicely on YouTube, or on Funnyordie.com (of which McKay is an owner), but it’s clear that a Hollywood film made out of such bits will make more money — which is both ironic and something of a scam in its own right.

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