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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Other Guys

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Veteran comedian Will Ferrell and comedy newcomer Mark Wahlberg play an ill-matched pair of crime-busters in "The Other Guys" (Columbia), an occasionally amusing but excessively vulgar action satire that handcuffs its talented cast with relentlessly foul-mouthed dialogue and tiresome bedroom jokes.

Ferrell is New York Police Department Detective Allen Gamble, a paperwork-loving forensic accountant whose idea of a fulfilling workday involves tracking down construction permit violations from the safety of the squad room.

Observing him disdainfully from the next desk is his frustrated perforce partner Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg). A former street cop unwillingly office-bound after making a high-profile mistake, Terry longs to get out of the precinct house and bring the bad guys to their knees, and he seldom passes up the chance to put quirky, soft-spoken Allen in his place.

A surprising opportunity to make a major bust arises, however, when Allen's numbers crunching and detail sifting suggest that famed British-born banker David Ershon (Steve Coogan) has been engaged in massive financial shenanigans.

To his credit, director and co-writer (with Chris Henchy) Adam McKay—Ferrell's longtime collaborator—handles the predictable series of car chases, explosions and gunfights that follow with restraint. Though the bullets fly by the hundreds, blood goes unspilled, and only one character meets a somewhat jarring end.

No such reserve is shown, though, when it comes to including edgy sexually themed material in this parody of genre conventions. Thus, when Allen's wife Sheila (Eva Mendes) turns out to be unexpectedly attractive, Terry openly lusts after her to supposedly humorous effect.

Equally misguided is a scene in which, with Allen in hiding, Sheila's elderly mother serves as a go-between for the spouses, carrying back and forth distastefully detailed messages about the outlandish lovemaking activities they yearn to be engaged in with each other.

The film contains considerable, though bloodless, action violence; much sexual humor; a couple of uses of profanity; and pervasive crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.




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James: This James is the brother of John the Evangelist. The two were called by Jesus as they worked with their father in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had already called another pair of brothers from a similar occupation: Peter and Andrew. “He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him” (Mark 1:19-20). 
<p>James was one of the favored three who had the privilege of witnessing the Transfiguration, the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus and the agony in Gethsemani. </p><p>Two incidents in the Gospels describe the temperament of this man and his brother. St. Matthew tells that their mother came (Mark says it was the brothers themselves) to ask that they have the seats of honor (one on the right, one on the left of Jesus) in the kingdom. “Jesus said in reply, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We can’” (Matthew 20:22). Jesus then told them they would indeed drink the cup and share his baptism of pain and death, but that sitting at his right hand or left was not his to give—it “is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father” (Matthew 20:23b). It remained to be seen how long it would take to realize the implications of their confident “We can!” </p><p>The other disciples became indignant at the ambition of James and John. Then Jesus taught them all the lesson of humble service: The purpose of authority is to serve. They are not to impose their will on others, or lord it over them. This is the position of Jesus himself. He was the servant of all; the service imposed on him was the supreme sacrifice of his own life. </p><p>On another occasion, James and John gave evidence that the nickname Jesus gave them—“sons of thunder”—was an apt one. The Samaritans would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to hated Jerusalem. “When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?’ Jesus turned and rebuked them...” (Luke 9:54-55). </p><p>James was apparently the first of the apostles to be martyred. “About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also” (Acts 12:1-3a). </p><p>This James, sometimes called James the Greater, is not to be confused with James the Lesser (May 3) or with the author of the Letter of James and the leader of the Jerusalem community.</p> American Catholic Blog Walk the talk. Show, don’t tell. Values are caught, not taught—all variations of one theme: A good example is essential for good parenting.

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