A Deeper Look at “The Other Guys”

I’ve just left the movie theatre after seeing The Other Guys with Will Farrell and Mark Wahlberg.  A really funny, funny movie.  But, you have to stay alert to catch it all; some of the good stuff is pretty subtle.  Also, you might want to be careful what age person you take with you.  While it’s rated PG-13, there’s a lot of sensual suggestion and outright sexual talk in it.

That aside, me and the rest of the audience laughed out loud most of the time.  The movie is just hilarious.  Definitely, if you want a good belly-laugh, go see it.  And, another plus:  all of the actors are endearing, yes, even the bad guys.  But now, on to the deeper look.

 

This movie captures a slice of time in the life of two surprisingly very sensitive guys, Farrell and Wahlberg, who play police partners Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz.  It’s interesting that each of their totally opposite adult personalities formed from similar hurtful, negative incidents in their earlier lives.

The now subdued, sincere and proper Gamble was, during college, a pimp with a stable of beautiful coeds.  And . . . in complete denial about it.  In spite of the fact that he’s a plain guy, gorgeous, sexy women are always drawn to Gamble.  Who knows why, really?  This fact, though, produces a confused and perpetually stunned Hoitz.

It turns out that Gamble has deliberately chosen a desk job as a forensic accountant (huh?) because he knows he has a dark side and he’s afraid of it.  He was violent during his “pimp” past.

His true personality?  Gamble is a Pleaser.  He wants relationship practically at any cost.  He suffers constant insults from all the other cops and usually goes back for more.  And, in spite of emotional, verbal and practically every other kind of abuse from Hoitz, Gamble persists as an over-the-top committed, outstanding friend.  This is what Pleasing people do.  They hardly ever give up.

Hoitz’s true personality?  The opposite of Gamble, Hoitz is unbelievably enraged, insulting and hateful as a heavy Controller.  The guy’s suspicious of every person who isn’t like him and, even worse, he’s outrageously judgmental.  And as wildly out-of-control as he is himself, he persists in attempting to control every situation he and Gamble encounter.   Why the rage?  Earlier, as a rookie cop, he made a bad mistake and now he believes he’s being treated unfairly.  His mistake?  It’s an ongoing joke throughout the movie so I can’t tell here.

And now: is this guy really deep down sensitive?  Yes.  It turns out that in his younger years he took ballet lessons (he’s a great dancer!) and played the harp.  You’ll have to go to the movie to find out why.

To provide a reason for all of the nonsense that goes on with these two, there’s the usual silly plot involving awful people who mastermind a 30 million dollar very complicated, last minute money transfer.  So along the way there are shoot-outs, car wrecks, people posing as other people, and confusing drop-in scenes that seem nonsensical.  But, it doesn’t matter; it’s a fun ride.

Michael Keaton, who plays Captain Gene Mauch, is the quintessential cop captain here.  Early on, Mauch dismisses Gamble and Hoitz as useless, perpetual screw-ups.  And, he makes it clear that he’s not going to help them if it means jeopardizing his own job.  But, at some point, he looks deeper at Hoitz and Gamble (their dogged persistence works) and begins to believe there just might be something to what the duo is saying.  Yes, this, even though Hoitz and Gamble are involved in what appears to be a crazy pursuit of phantom bad guys.

Finally, at the end, Mauch saves the day.  Gamble and Hoitz become heroes.  They each tie up the loose ends with their wife and girl friend, and everybody in the theatre, including me, sighs in wonderful relief:  all ended well for these two at-their-core sweet guys.  I saw a lot of broad smiles and heard plenty of chuckles leaving the theatre, which nearly sold out.

And, oh, if you can, stay for the end stuff; it’s great.  And try to place the narrator’s voice.

Best regards until next time.

Joan

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