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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Other Guys (Blu-ray)
The Other Guys (Blu-ray)
Sony Pictures // Unrated // December 14, 2010 // Region Free
List Price: $34.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted December 7, 2010 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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P R I N T
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"This is unbelievable. Who put the f&#&in' cameras in this place?"
"Oh, who the f&#& are you?"
"I'm the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy."

- some other guy in some other movie
The guys who do their jobs this time around are Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Danson (Dwayne Johnson). They're the Lethal Weapon action hero types, stringing together all the quippy one-liners, yoinking the bad guys, and blowing pretty much everything to holy hell along the way. Guns! Explosions! Breakneck car chases! Throngs of
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grateful, nubile women! Yup, just another day on the NYPD.

Well, it's just another day for them, at least. Racking up tens of millions of dollars in property damage on a daily basis and chucking all those drug pushers in the slammer mean lots and lots of paperwork. Highsmith and Danson aren't really the #2 pencil types so much, but someone's gotta do it, and that job falls to...wait for it!...the other guys. Y'know, cops like Det. Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell), a forensic accountant who loves paperwork like a fat kid loves cake. His partner Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), meanwhile...well, he thinks he oughtta be the one in the limelight. The only press coverage he got involves game 7 of the World Series, a biracial angel, and an itchy trigger finger, and Hoitz has been shoved to the sidelines ever since. All he needs is one shot, though: one shot for this peacock to spread his wings and fly.

Okay, and it looks like Hoitz might get his chance. Highsmith and Danson think they're bulletproof, baby, and when they're chasing down a gang of jewel thieves who zipline off a high-rise, the two dicks leap right after 'em, Butch and Sundance-style down twenty stories. Oops. Splat. Heroes-for-hire sign out front. Gamble is perfectly content digging in his heels as a desk jockey, and while Hoitz is trying to yank him out of his chair, a couple other detectives swoop into the spotlight instead. Oh well. There are plenty of other bland, boring cases that need to be tackled anyway. The only thing is that this scaffolding permit violation that Gamble starts chasing down leads the two dicks careening head-on into an international $32 billion defraudment conspiracy. If ProctorHoitz and Gamble aren't gunned down, blown up, or given the boot by the upper brass, maybe they'll get to be Murtaugh and Riggs Part Deux after all.

I know this is a your-mileage-may-vary kind of thing, but the biggest problem I have with The Other Guys is that it's...well, not that funny. I'd chalk it up in that same class as last year's I Love You, Man: I like pretty much everyone in the cast, I don't have a problem with any of the characters, and I get what it's trying to do, but it hardly ever translates to a laugh. There are plenty of gags in both of these movies where I'd think "oh, that's pretty clever", but I don't put on a comedy to quietly mull over that sort of thing to myself. Part of it's that The Other Guys hits the ground running with its best stuff up front. Samuel L. Jackson and The Rock's deliriously over-the-top buddy-cop routine is brilliant, and if there were ever a spin-off prequel thingie, Sony could count on my ten bucks. The two of them are out of the way pretty quickly, though, and The Other Guys takes a really long time to ramp up to that kind of energy again. Its sense of humor feels like it's in my wheel house, revolving more around completely outta-left-field
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absurdity rather than lazy sight gags or cheap gross-outs (there's some of that, obviously, but still...). I mean, one of its highest octane action sequences is set to a low-tempo Mamas and the Papas number. Eva Mendes, in the middle of a scene, starts belting out a somber song by the name of "Pimps Don't Cry". Their police captain (Michael Keaton) is pulling double-duty as a manager at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and he has a kinda tough time separating one gig from the other. The smart money says you'll never look at tuna and African safaris the same way again after this. The heavily improvised dialogue has that same inspired-and-completely-nonsensical bent as Anchorman and pretty much everything else with co-writer/director Adam McKay's name on the bill. There are a few really amazing bits -- if you've watched the flick, I can say Gator, ballet, and bribery, and you'll flash me a thumbs-up and a smile or something -- but the flop sweat in between the best stuff is ankle-deep. I watched McKay and Ferrell's Step Brothers right after this, and I laughed more in any random five minute stretch in that flick than I did during the entirety of The Other Guys. It's also a drag that the movie wastes pretty much the entire supporting cast -- Michael Keaton and Eva Mendes in her push-up bra are the only standouts -- and it seems like the not-really-comedians score many, many more laughs than the seasoned improv crowd.

The Other Guys does do quite a bit right, though. It's a check in the 'Win!' column that Will Ferrell doesn't play another man-child. While Ferrell and Wahlberg both play pretty much one-note characters, the best gags in the movie work because they lull you into a false sense of security...keeping on one straight, narrow path for so long makes the sudden zags pack that much more of a wallop. The action sequences are pulled off really well too. It's a buddy-cop spoof, sure, riffing on a laundry list of clichés, but the scale and intensity of the action are right up there with an honest-to-Gord summer blockbuster. The only thing there is that I kinda wish there were more of it. The higher octane stuff is mostly reserved for the beginning and ending of the flick, and I guess the idea's that all the hee-larious character stuff is sandwiched somewhere in between. The pacing winds up really dragging in the middle, though, and the stuff that's meant to be hysterical usually isn't so much. The unrated cut of The Other Guys clocks in right at two hours, but it moves so slowly at times that the movie feels as if it runs another thirty minutes on top of that. Some scenes drag on and on...someone will latch onto a joke like a pit bull with tetanus and not let go, running it into the ground endlessly...blah. I mean, The Other Guys is an
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action/comedy, so flip to pretty much any random part of the movie, and it either oughtta be an adrenaline rush or it oughtta be funny. So much of it doesn't fall under either of those headings, tho', and the movie gets way too caught up in an elaborate conspiratorial story that's really not that interesting in the first place. It just seems like the plot's getting in the way of the comedy.

Oh, and The Other Guys also updates the buddy cop formula for the iPhone Generation. Rather than the badniks pushing cocaine or whatever, they're white collar criminals, with Steve Coogan basically playing a younger, Bri'ish version of Bernie Madoff. I kinda like the change of pace, at least to a point, and it sets up a pretty impressive shootout in a ritzy office tower too. Especially in this unrated cut, where a heavy-handed monologue has been tacked onto the end, it can feel pretty preachy about that corporate greed angle. I know that subtlety isn't really what The Other Guys is going for -- this is a movie with a faux-romantic story about an epic love borne from a poison-ivy-tainted bunghole, after all -- but I hate being bludgeoned over the head with messages like that.

Yeah, yeah...The Other Guys has the most coherent story of the four flicks that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have made together, and in a lot of ways, it's the one that feels the most fully-baked too. Still, for my money, The Other Guys is one of those movies that's just kinda...there. Its uneven pacing and really scattershot sense of humor make it tough to recommend sight-unseen, but it's not some soul-crushing, unredeemable failure that makes you question all that you've come to believe is just and good in the world either. I guess that means Rent It, right?


Video
The short answer is "really good but not quite great". The Other Guys has a coarse, gritty texture that works really well for an action flick, and it's nice to see that hasn't been artificially smoothened away for home video. Crispness and clarity are generally fairly strong as well. The level of fine detail isn't quite where I'd expect it to be for a $100 million summer blockbuster, though. Sometimes it can be really impressive while other stretches seem a touch softer and not as well-defined as I'd have hoped. I'm sure all that dates back to the original photography, so I can't chalk that up as a flaw with this Blu-ray disc, but don't keep your fingers crossed for a reference quality high-def release or anything. It's just kinda weird that Step Brothers, McKay-'n-Ferrell's previous flick together, is a lower-key movie with a lower budget but looks so much slicker than this. Whatever. A lot of the green screen shots wind up looking awkward and jarringly different, and while I'm sure it was the same way in theaters too, that can be kind of distracting. Black levels are rock solid, there obviously aren't any nicks or specks on display, and its palette is punchier than anything DVD could ever hope to deliver. The Other Guys is a really nice looking Blu-ray disc by any standard, but I guess I was expecting something a little more consistently crisp and more richly detailed. Very good but nothing remarkable.

To fit two cuts of the movie -- not to mention a slew of high-def extras -- onto this disc, The Other Guys takes advantage of seamless branching. Almost every spare byte on this dual-layer disc is used too. The Other Guys is presented on Blu-ray at its theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1, and the video has been encoded with AVC.


Audio
The Other Guys isn't just a spoof of mammothly budgeted summer buddy-cop-action flicks...it is a mammothly budgeted summer buddy-cop-action flick, and it's packing exactly the kind of audio you'd expect. This six-channel, 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is hyperaggressive whenever the action kicks in -- sprays of gunfire whizzing by from every direction, cars tearing across the screen during all these breakneck chases, the rush of helicopters soaring overhead...hell, a wrecking ball whacking into a van and sending it flying. The surrounds are tamer outside of the action, obviously, but when the adrenaline starts pumping, the rear channels really are unrelenting. There's a hefty low-end too what with all these twenty megaton explosions, gunshots, car crashes, and even some thundering hip-hop. A few moments are so chaotic that the dialogue can be a little overwhelmed, but that seems to be intentional, and every line otherwise is clear and nicely balanced throughout. It's a pretty awesome mix, and I really don't have any gripes about it at all.

This Blu-ray disc piles on lossless soundtracks in French and Portuguese while it's at it. Also included are a Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish dub as well as a descriptive video service track. The long list of subtitles includes streams in English (traditional and SDH), French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Hindi. Oh, and the Mom-mentary has been optionally subtitled into English, Spanish, and Portuguese as well.


Extras
The Other Guys serves up two cuts of the movie on Blu-ray -- the PG-13 version that made the rounds in theaters and a shiny, new unrated version. The unrated cut runs around 9 minutes longer, but there are oodles of other little changes scattered throughout...someone might say "Viagra pill" in the PG-13 version but say "cock" in the unrated, f'r instance. The
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biggest additions are a Rick-Rolled fistfight in the middle of a car chase, an argument at an art gallery exhibition between Hoitz and his ex, and a preachy monologue about corporate greed at the very, very end. The unrated cut also has a completely different joke after the end credits.

Oh, and all of the extras here are served up in high-def, and quite a few of them are Blu-ray exclusive. Sorry, DVD people!
  • Deleted Scenes and Outtakes

    • Deleted and Extended Scenes (30 min.; HD): This reel crams together eighteen deleted and extended scenes, and some of the highlights...? There's what I guess is a new introduction to Gamble and Hoitz that looks like a drug buy but isn't so much, Requiem for a Dream-ish quick-cutting of Gamble springing into action as a desk jockey, Anne Heche's power-suited-executive-type at yoga, and a maybe-racist-maybe-not bit with Gamble and Hoitz chatting up a police sketch artist. There's a lot more with Lindsay Sloane and Mark Wahlberg. Rob Riggle and Marlon Wayans Jr. score a lot more screentime as the heirs apparent to the whole NYPD supercop thing. Cosplay. Mock-geriatric stripping. Fox News fawning. Toothpick class project. Funeral gags. A post-squash agenda. A whole morning-after thing. Oh, and there's also a kind of terrible alternate ending at a counseling session. Like the movie, this stuff can be really hit or miss, but it's worth a look, especially the ridiculous cosplay bit.

    • Line-O-Rama (9 min.; HD): McKay's comedies have a lot of improvised riffs, and some of those alternate lines are piled on here: more "fresh start" gags, poking more fun at Gamble's Prius, hobo-screwin', post-explosion trauma, talking a suicidal lawyer-type off a ledge, and even some inspirational Bed, Bath, and Beyond-dom.

    • Gag Reel (6 min.; HD): C'mon, you know the drill by now...cracking up, blown lines, that sorta thing.

    • Flash Forwards (2 min.; HD): Why settle for seeing the flick through the eyes of the same couple of guys? There are millions of people on the sidelines of all this havoc, and 'Flash Forwards' dishes out things from the perspectives of a few of these folks, including a couple of celebrity cameos.

    • Alternate Action (3 min.; HD): There are also different takes on three action sequences: more action and more macho banter in the opening Highsmith/Danson chase, a different escape from the office tower, and a bit where Gamble and Hoitz try to shake a guy that's latched onto the hood of the Prius.


  • Interviews and Featurettes

    • Crash and Burn! (10 min.; HD): As if you haven't clued into this already, The Other Guys is an action/comedy, and the first of the Blu-ray disc's featurettes focuses on the stuff on the left hand of that
      [click on the thumbnail to enlarge]
      slash. Action, I mean. I'm trying to be clever and failing miserably, so I guess it's contagious. Anyway, this clip focuses on the very serious approach the movie takes with its action, including extended looks at the shenanigans behind the Chevelle and tour bus collision, taking a twenty story nosedive, and the 'gauntlet' chase in the Prius. There are lots and lots of raw dailies scattered around in here too.

    • Wasn't That??? (15 min.; HD): Hey, a casting featurette! Adam McKay chats about casting the main guys, lining up the supporting cast, and even the eight hojillion cameos tossed around the movie. The actors also speak briefly about their performances and the characters they're playing. Pretty routine.

    • Why Are There Brits in This Movie? (7 min.; HD): Hey, Steve Coogan gets his very own casting featurette! It's kind of a mockumentary deal about warring accents, the third world country of Britain, and what a sad, pathetic figure Coogan really is.

    • Rob Riggle Likes to Party (3 min.; HD): Rob Riggle spells out his idea of a good time which would, yeah, probably get him 15 years in Rikers.

    • Bed, Bath, and Way Beyond (4 min.; HD): Adam McKay says there's a 35 minute version of the scene with Michael Keaton prepping the grunts at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. You don't get that here, no, but there are some interviews and outtakes.

    • Extreme Close Up (5 min.; HD): They're interviews but shot in extreme close-ups? Get it? It's one joke spread out for five mildly torturous minutes.

    • Mark Wahlberg's Eating Contest Entourage (4 min.; HD): An extreme eater pal of Marky Mark's from Boston hits up craft services to drink the undrinkable.

    • We Shouldn't Kiss Chicken (1 min.; HD): All the kids are playing it! Get two people who really shouldn't be locking lips, shove 'em together, and see who flinches away from the kiss first.

    • Everyone Hates the DVD Guy (5 min.; HD): Everybody on the set grouses at having a camera shoved in their face every waking moment of the day, even though they're...y'know, making a movie that already has 'em surrounded by cameras anyway. The great thing is that some of this is clearly mock-indignation, but other times I really can't tell if someone's genuinely pissed or not.


  • Mom-mentary: Okay, on any
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    other Blu-ray disc, you'd have co-writer Chris Henchy, co-writer/director Adam McKay, and producer/star Will Ferrell hopping in front of the mic for the commentary track. This time around, though, they leave that to their moms. I'll admit that I walked into this thinking it'd be some goofy novelty track that'd get old four or five minutes in, but I actually kinda like it. Admittedly, if you're seeking out some kind of sterling insight into the film, you're not gonna get it here. These three women are really charming, though, and you can kind of tell where their kids get that wit. Even though so much of the track is narrating whatever's happening on-screen, veering off on rambling tangents, gushing over how much they love everyone and everything, and giggling, the three of them are so sharp and personable that it's really listenable. There's also zero dead air for the entire length of the movie, and that's more than I can say for a lot of audio commentaries. To rattle off a few highlights: women presumably well into their sixties or seventies salivating over The Rock, fending off accusations of chucking Chinese food out a hotel window, explaining how their kids fell into their careers, what they think their sons would be doing if they weren't in pictures, and pointing out how cities like New York and San Diego react to their portrayal in these movies. I can't say this is an essential listen or anything, but I kinda dug it anyway.

  • Fake TV Spot (1 min.; HD): Lendl Global: they're in everything!

  • Music Video (4 min.; HD): Thrill to a James Bond-ish music video for "Pimps Don't Cry" with Eva Mendes and Cee-Lo.

  • movieIQ: If you're anything like me -- and yikes, I hope you're not! -- you're constantly wondering "wait, I know that actor from something" or "ack, what song is that again?". This running movieIQ feature cheerfully identifies all that stuff for you, and it even lobs out little nuggets of trivia too. A separate running feature highlights which moments have been added or altered for the unrated cut of The Other Guys.

Oh, and The Other Guys is a BD Live-enabled disc, although the switch for all that functionality hasn't been flipped on as I write this. There's also a free PS3 theme on this disc which is kinda cool to see.


The Final Word
The Other Guys tries to splice together a $100 million buddy cop flick with the absurdist comedy of Anchorman and company, and as concepts go, that ain't a bad one. When it's screaming ahead full throttle, the action is infectious, and the movie's sense of humor can be devastating when it connects. The problem...? Not nearly enough of either. This is an action/comedy, but the highest octane action sequences are at the beginning and end of the flick without much of anything in between, and too many of the gags are limp and lifeless. This unrated cut clocks in at two hours but is such an unevenly paced slog that it feels a lot longer than that. I mean, The Other Guys is okay, but...c'mon, I've watched enough of Adam McKay and Will Ferrell's other movies to know they can do a lot better than this. So, yeah: I'd give this Blu-ray disc a rental before forking over twentyhowevermany bucks to buy it. Rent It.
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