You guys ever hear of movies? Y’know, those things that are just like video games, except you don’t actually play them and they don’t cost as much to see or own. Yeah, this post is about them.

Well, actually, it’s about one movie in particular I saw–The Other Guys.

I went to go see this on a whim. I’d seen the trailers, thought the premise was at least kind of interesting, even if Cop Out had just done a similar idea not too long before, and was pleasantly surprised. This movie is a lot of things–a gut-busting comedy, a cavaclade of great cameos and characters, and–get this–a rather adept bit of social commentary.

I am not fucking kidding.

The movie is a ludicrous series of nonsequiters. You know how Family Guy will just cut to random scenes in order to tell a joke? That’s the entire, oh, first two-thirds of this movie, and the ever-increasing degrees of ridiculous scenarios the two main characters stumble into provides more than your ticket’s worth of laughs. Mark Wahlberg plays a somewhat dim-witted, overqualified desk jockey dying to get out of the office while Will Farrell plays a bookish, nonconfrontational, Zen-like accountant who never wants to leave. They fight crime! Sort of.

Mostly they just get into weird, goofy, hilarious situations. New York City is a fairy tale land of bizarre happenings, and it seems to exist solely to shit on Farell and Wahlberg. Deserved or not, every situation they stumble into seems to always go badly for them, yet their dogged perseverance almost demands that you at least root for them to acheive some semblance of a victory. There’s hardly a scene they aren’t in, and consideirng the team-up, the pair have great chemistry. You could call this movie “Marky Mark shouts at Ron Burgandy a Lot” and you’d not be all that wrong. Both characters are well-developed and funny in their own ways, and it’s kind of nice to see that Ferell isn’t really playing the stooge this time, so it’s a change of pace.

But what this movie is REALLY about is the fucked up discrepancies between the rich ruling classes and everyday Americans. In its sluggish and much slower-paced final act, the movie takes a chunk of time to make a pointed political statement about how inadequate the systems we have in place to check and balance corporate investors and their money-lending cronies really are. The main “villain” of the story is simply a money lender who gave away more than he had, forcing him to find some poor saps to con with a Ponzie scheme.

The end credits are one of the finest I’ve seen in a movie–an elaborate pseudo-Powerpoint presentation of graphics and figures detailing the levels of excess and the hard data behind a lot of what is discussed or mentioned in the background of the film. Assaulting fat cat CEOs and con-men like Bernie Madoff with relish, the movie reveals a startling level of, if not outright depth, certainly more complexity.

It becomes a bit…shall we say, incongruous…when you compare how the film sets itself up with how it concludes. The cartoonish, almost random sequences that fill most of the first two hilarious thirds of the movie don’t really make you think of satire or commentary, but now that I’ve seen the whole film, I’d want to rewatch it again, to pay attention to scenes that I’d dismissed as just exposition. Amidst the laughs, there’s a lot of very sharp comments pertaining to the inequality of wealth we have in this country.

Excess. It’s everywhere in this movie, especially in regards to the “villain” (he’s far too pathetic to really be properly considered an antagonist) whose sheer volumes of wealth, his teeth-grindingly self-serving speeches about the value of overspending and lavish living in the center of a vast urban sprawl, made up of miserable, poverty-stricken nobodies or else peacefully apathetic middle classers who just want to keep going, just want to keep their china clean and their bellies full. In a way, the two main characters represent these dichotomies–Wahlberg is blue-collar, through and through, and despite his qualifications and skills he is simply unable to progress in the world, whereas Ferrell is a smart, educated and fairly well-off man who has everything–and believes that only by completely ignoring how good he has it–in fact, by never leaving his desk–he can make it through the day.

I may be overthinking it. The movie is far less pendantic and heavy handed as I am now–but it’s one of the very few comedies released recently that’s really made me think. I’m still completely shocked by this–but y’know what? I can dig it. Considering this is from the same house that built Talledega Nights and Stepbrothers (Christ Almighty, STEPBROTHERS!) I am as shocked as horse that just sprouted a hump that this movie did anything more than entertain.

Check it out. Considering the pedigree, you’re guaranteed a funny movie–and y’know what? You may just get a pretty smart one too.

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