Having seen two buddy movies of the cop variety within a few days of each other, I can’t help but compare and contrast Cop Out and The Other Guys – it’s time for a Buddy Cop Movie Smack Down!
The IMDB description of The Other Guys reads, in part: “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 planned.” I take exception to that; I didn’t find Will Ferrell or Mark Wahlberg to be especially mismatched. Both characters were extremely weird – going into the film, you expected Ferrell to be the crazy guy and Wahlberg to be the straight man, but it’s not like that; neither of them play the straight man, they’re both just crazy. While Ferrell’s character tries to control his inner demons by insulating himself from the outside world, Wahlberg’s character just screams at everybody, unable to harness his anger into anything constructive. They play off each other well as actors, but the script never defines their roles – the characters are too similar, despite Wahlberg’s barking and Ferrell’s straight faced insanity; you end up with Wahlberg’s character complaining that he’s stuck with Ferrell’s, while Ferrell’s would be equally justified in voicing similar complaints.
I saw the unrated version and frankly, I think this was just a marketing ploy – it was just a version of the movie that was not rated by the MPAA; there wasn’t anything racy in it; I’m guessing it was longer than the theatrical version, and if that’s the case, watching this version was a mistake, because the movie is just too long… yep, here it is: 107 min rated, 116 min unrated… but even 107 minutes was too long. The movie just isn’t paced well.
Now that’s not to say there aren’t laughs, because there are a ton of great jokes running through the entire film, and with two cameos by Derek Jeter, how can you go wrong? Well, I wouldn’t go as far as to say they got it right, because the movie is a comedy and it’s funny, but I certainly wouldn’t watch it again.
My Rating: 3 out of 5
A few nights later, I saw Cop Out, and given my high expectations by the joining of three of my favorite talents (Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan and Kevin Smith), I wasn’t disappointed. Tracey Morgan sets the tone for the movie right away as he interrogates a criminal with a series of quotes from various movies, much to the delight of his coworkers. This opening sequence, including before the interrogation, during which Morgan’s character gives Willis’ character an anniversary card celebrating their partnership sets up the entire movie: sure, both characters are silly, but Morgan is the executive in charge of insanity in this flick. Willis makes jokes, sure, but he’s the straight man and Morgan is a maniac, running around in a cell phone costume and planting a nanny cam in his bedroom to check if his wife is cheating on him. As an added bonus, supporting actors include Kevin Pollak and Guillermo Díaz (he’s Scarface in Half Baked, amongst many other acting credits and just being one of the funniest guys around – in a rare roll here as the bad guy), who bring a level of depth to the movie I did not expect. And just to add a little somethin-somethin, we also get Jason Lee, Rashida Jones and Seann William Scott. Beyond the performances, the script is well crafted and the movie is well paced and edited. And, I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Kevin Smith movie, but the flick actually looks pretty good; the camera moves around, there are reveals… stuff I didn’t know David Klein was capable of. There was a weird helicopter shot at the very end of the movie, but whatever. I really liked this movie, and I’ll watch it again, no doubt.
My Rating: 4 out of 5
In my view, Cop Out kicks The Other Guys’ ass, and easily at that. The version I saw of The Other Guys was only 9 minutes longer than Cop Out, yet Cop Out moves so much faster and is just straight up funnier, has better action sequences and overall flow. Sure, The Other Guys is a decent enough movie, but it’s just not in the same class as Cop Out. Who knows, over time, i wouldn’t be surprised if I raise Cop Out’s score a bit; I think I was disappointed Jason Lee wasn’t in the movie more, and that might have held me back a little – so an update to 4.3 or 4.5 could happen as time goes by and I see Cop Out a second or third time.
And that’s what it comes down to – Cop Out is so good, I’d watch it again. I’m not mad I sat through The Other Guys, but I don’t see myself sitting through it for a second time..