The Other Guys - The Unrated Other Edition Blu-ray Review
The Other Guys come blasting to Blu-ray with a 1080p High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.40:1. It’s quite a cinematic framing for a comedy, but obviously done with the action element in mind, and it largely works well for the explosive proceedings. Detail is generally superb, from the longer shots to the close-ups, to the adventurous “3D” freeze-frame bar-sequence, which relies on pristine image quality to work so well. There are no signs of edge enhancement, but conversely also no softness, with a fine layer of suitably filmic grain giving the presentation a grand edge. The colour scheme is broad but always realistic – there are no overblown tones here. The palette is rendered in a vivid and attractive fashion, whilst also perfectly reflecting the material on offer, whether it’s the explosive shootouts or the dull police station, or even the changeable New York backdrop. Black levels are decent and round out a superior visual presentation for this movie.
Accompanying the main feature we get a boisterous DTS-HD Master Audio mix that may lack refinement, but often makes up for it with sheer bombast. The all-important dialogue is always kept at the forefront, coming across clearly and coherently, largely dominating the frontal array wherever appropriate. Effects are loud and in-your-face, explosions rocking your sofa, bullets pinging around your living room, and helicopters whirling overhead. There is some surround separation, and the dynamics do get utilised, but it’s quite a blunt affair, seldom creating true ‘atmosphere’, and instead going for punch rather than precision. The score rounds out the proceedings, further giving the surrounds something to do, and this is a decent enough aural offering, but not quite in the demo material category.
The US Region Free Blu-ray release of The Other Guys comes complete with a hefty, often hilarious extras package. Sure the faux-Commentary is just another bad joke, but there’s plenty of additional footage here, and lots of superb improvisational moments. I have to comment on the menu though, for once, as it’s just painfully slow. Seriously, it’s not just slow, but it actually ‘remembers’ every button press, so when you press the button five times just to get the cursor to move once, you have to sit and wait as it moves five spaces across, at near ten-second intervals. It’s the slowest menu I have EVER come across. Awful.
“Mom-entary” Audio Commentary
This is a rather odd alternative to a normal Commentary, consisting of a selection of the cast and crew members’ mothers, providing their contemporaneous thoughts on the movie. It’s basically a bunch of women swooning over Mark Wahlberg, shying away from the more extreme moments, loving the scenery and outfits, and saying “I love this bit” at least once every four minutes. They cleared enjoyed it far more than anybody else on the planet, although the fact that their kids were involved in the production has clearly rose-tinted their point-of-view. The novelty factor runs out real quick on this one, you could quite happily skip this and avoid being massively irritated.
I’ve always loved this feature, particularly on comedies like Superbad, where the best lines get revisited with lots of improvised alternative takes, and here we do get a few nice moments (“we found a snake that killed himself”), but it’s not quite as good as you would have hoped for. Still, many moments are funnier than the final lines used, and it’s probably worth sitting through it all to get the good bits (much like the movie itself!).
There’s a two minute gag reel which shows just how hard it was for the actors to keep straight faces during some of the deadpan hilarity. It’s always nice to see the cast enjoying themselves.
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Here we get 30 more minutes of extra footage, which includes an amusing montage, a welcome added bit with Sam Jackson and The Rock, and some alternate takes (not really sure what the difference is between these and the Line-O-Rama bits). Marlon Wayans Jr. confirms that his best abilities are still just a shade of his dad’s talents, and there’s too much of him and his loud partner, and many of the scenes have little value, but if you persist, you will find a few gems. Steve Coogan actually manages to be quite funny, and there’s an amusing little foreplay ‘dress-up’ bit between Ferrell and Eva Mendes which should be seen (it’s around 25 minutes in if you want to skip to it). Those who enjoyed the Theatrical Version in the cinema, and the Extended Cut on home video, will definitely want to see yet more here.
Here we get less than 2 minutes of odd moments with the lives of various (some famous) bystanders in the movie expanded upon unnecessarily. It’s faintly amusing, and involves Paris Hilton, but it’s a little gimmicky.
This runs at a little less than 3 minutes and basically showcases some expanded action sequences, often with incomplete effects. There’s more from the Sam Jackson/The Rock opening chase, as well as a few extra stunts towards the end, but I’m not entirely sure any of this material deserved it’s own section – it could have just been left in with the Deleted/Extended Scenes.
Here we get a 15 minute Featurette looking at the various characters. Oddly, it kicks off with Derek Jeter, but then goes on to look at the leads – Ferrell and Wahlberg – and then the rest of the contributors (often taking a tongue-in-cheek approach). Of course all of the more obscure cameos are covered (like Jeter, fairly unknown outside the US), but this would have been a reasonably decent addition were it not for the massive overuse of final film footage, and limited exploration of behind the scenes footage. Still, it’s nice to hear from Ferrell and Wahlberg, reflecting on their work.
Crash and Burn
This 10 minute Featurette looks at the surprisingly competent action element of the production. I think they are right – the action scenes are great – but unfortunately I don’t think they play well with the comedy part. Here we get a decent behind the scenes look at the stunts performed: the helicopter shootout, the opening sequence jump and the car chase sequence, to name but a few. Again, it drifts too often into final film footage, but it’s still nice to hear from the cast and crew about shooting the action stuff (and shooting an explosive chase sequence in central New York must have been a blast!).
Why are there Brits in this movie?
This is a mock Interview Featurette focussing on Steve Coogan, with him arguably on funnier form than in the main feature. It’s very dead-pan and quite amusing, although I’m not sure it needs to last 7 minutes, as it drifts through the entire Brit population of the cast and crew.
Rob Riggle Likes to Party
This is a two-and-a-half minute segment with comedian Rob Riggle in-character, joking around on set.
We Shouldn’t Kiss Chicken
Here we get just over a minute of various crew members playing ‘chicken’ over kissing each other – i.e. seeing who backs out first. Pointless.
Mark Wahlberg’s Eating Contest Entourage
This is three-and-a-half minutes looking at Mark Wahlberg’s childhood friend, an ‘extreme eater’ who also happens to be an amateur kickboxing champion. He talks a lot, then drinks a cup of combined hot sauces. Also pretty pointless.
Bed, Bath and Way Beyond
Here we get a short 4 minute Featurette looking specifically at Michael Keaton’s role in the movie, with some nice interview snippets from the guy himself, but – for such a short featurette – again we get far too much final film footage. Still, perhaps Keaton fans will enjoy his comments and the brief glimpse at the dailies (b-roll footage).
Lendl Global Commercial
What it says on the tin, a 40-second faux commercial for the fictional corporation.
Here we get a 5 minute montage of Interview snippets with many of the main cast and crew members, with the camera shoved right in their faces – capturing eyebrows, nostrils and chins in often out-of-focus close-up. I’m not going to say it’s totally pointless, Sam Jackson’s and The Rock’s laugher alone is quite contagious, but it’s pretty gimmicky.
Pimps Don’t Cry Music Video
Unfortunately this isn’t the faux music video that I was hoping for, with Will Ferrell taking the lead. Thankfully his absence in this more serious music video for the movie is made up for somewhat by the presence of the gorgeous Eva Mendes, who performs the song.
Everybody Hates The DVD Guy
Here we get nearly 5 minutes of people talking to a camera-wielding crew member who appears to be irritating many of the other crew members, and cast members, by filming them between takes. It’s an odd extra, taken far too seriously considering it’s supposed to be a joke, and consequently not in the least bit funny.
Finally we get a selection of Previews, for Salt, Easy-A and that damn facebook movie The Social Network. What’s next, Tweet Home Alabama?
The Other Guys is a disjointed, badly-paced, poorly-plotted sub-Hot Fuzz quality comedy, which still has its hilarious moments, but generally does not come together as a cohesive, enjoyable whole. It’s entertaining, in parts, but closer in quality to Talladega Nights than Anchorman in the Will Ferrell spectrum of comedy. Will Ferrell has his moments, Mark Wahlberg is surprisingly adept at comedy, and there is an assortment of other famous faces, but most of them are utterly wasted along the way. It’s a totally hit-and-miss affair, with too many flat stretches to maintain momentum, and not enough hilarity to really revive the proceedings.
On Region Free US Blu-ray we get not only the already overlong Theatrical Cut but also an even longer Extended Edition, which – despite containing some additional humour – only comes recommended to those who’ve already seen, and enjoyed the Theatrical Cut. If you’re new to the piece, you should test the waters with the shorter version first, and see if it works for you. The release boasts superb video and noisy audio, as well as a plethora of (also hit-and-miss) extras. Fans should consider it a worthy purchase, newcomers who loved Talladega Nights could probably afford to blind-buy it, but everybody else – even Will Ferrell fans – should really rent it first and see if you like it enough to add to your collection. A mixed bag indeed.