I prefer talking to writers and directors than to actors. They seem to talk more openly, and have a little more to say about the film. Such is the case with Adam McKay. Even though at the junket I saw Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg scoot down the corridor of the Soho Hotel, I wasn't jealous. Besides, I didn't think The Other Guys was that good, and instead I wanted to talk to McKay about some of the implications of the movie, such as the spoofy approach to action, and the political undercurrent to the narrative (the latter of which very few reviewers have touched on). He was honest about the film's flaws, and generally very easy to talk to. I think this is one of my favourite interviews.
The Other Guys, the action comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as second-string detectives in the NYPD, starts off as a pleasant, gag-laden farce, spoofing the genre with over-the-top stunts and a cheeky undermining of old-school heroics. The two leads, as we meet them, are desk-bound losers who handle the mountains of paperwork generated by the city’s law enforcement superstars, portrayed in stand-out cameos by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson with eye-brows fully cocked.
That’s at first. For once the protagonists stumble on their big case - a multi-billion dollar financial coup - the references to the Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs and Wall Street start flying, and it's obvious that there is something else at play.
The end credits blow open this subtext, unfurling the film’s themes with bold animated infographics of corporate greed.
There’s certainly a lot to unpack, so when we sat down with director/co-writer Adam McKay (a friendly, fast-talking gentleman who, after being head writer on Saturday Night Live, also collaborated with Will Ferrell on Anchorman, Talladega Nights and Step Brothers), we were sure to ask not only about the film’s genesis and his approach to action film direction, but to get his insight on these two issues central to The Other Guys.
Has irony destroyed action entertainment? And, likewise, what place does economic discourse have in a Will Ferrell movie? Let's find out...
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