A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this offbeat Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy is an irreverent send-up of buddy cop movies that will likely appeal to older tweens but is more age-appropriate for teens. Although the tone is light and comic overall -- and it isn't quite as raunchy as previous Ferrell hits like Anchorman -- the movie does include plenty of bone-crunching, guns-a-flying action sequences. There isn’t a lot of gore, but there’s plenty of cartoonish violence. There’s also a fair bit of strong language (including several uses of "s--t") and risque sexual innuendo/banter (including one exchange that gets pretty detailed), plus one scene involving cocaine and a drug bust.
What's the story?
In the criminal justice system explored in THE OTHER GUYS, the people are sometimes represented by bean-counting police officers and their deeply frustrated partners: These are their stories. (Cue droll voiceover by Law & Order veteran Ice-T.) Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) is an NYPD forensic accountant who’d rather file paperwork than be caught in the thick of action. His partner, Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), is a “peacock” who just wants to “fly,” but he’s been sidelined after erroneously shooting at none other than Derek Jeter. When the precinct loses its superstar cops (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson) in an oddball accident, a vacuum is created. Hoitz wants to be a hero, but Gamble doesn’t want to, well, gamble. But a seemingly nerdy case involving a famous finance whiz (Steve Coogan) and purloined billions just may get Hoitz the moment in the sun he’s seeking -- and Gamble a familiar taste of the thrills.
Is it any good?
Let’s get the basics out of the way: The plot of The Other Guys wouldn’t hold up in any court of law. That’s annoying, yes, and at times even distracting; the movie loses momentum in the end as it grapples with tying up the thin storyline’s dangling ends (and there are many) and winds up giving the audience a tutorial on corporate fraud. And Anne Heche as a testy financier is woefully underused.
But all of that’s a small-ish price to pay to watch Ferrell’s singular and witty absurdity unspool onscreen. He milks every moment, no matter how it strains credulity and humor, and often pulls it off. He’s paired perfectly with Wahlberg, whose air of danger is channeled into edgy hilarity. Some successes: A running bit about Gamble’s seemingly unexplainable ability to lure ridiculously attractive women like Eva Mendes (who plays his wife) and the bizarre fate that awaits a pair of celebrity cops who indulge in Bourne Identity-like action sequences, complete with explosions and gunfire and macho, canned repartee. Hoitz and Gamble are unlike most other guys, and what a gift that is.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this movie compares to more typical buddy cop movies. Why does Hollywood love these pairings? And why are they mostly male?
Is the violence in this type of movie gratuitous? What is this comedy saying about them? Is it paying homage or lampooning -- or a little bit of both?
- In theaters: August 6, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: December 14, 2010
- Cast: Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Will Ferrell
- Director: Adam McKay
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: crude and sexual content, language, violence and some drug material
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