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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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Athanasius: Athanasius led a tumultuous but dedicated life of service to the Church. He was the great champion of the faith against the widespread heresy of Arianism, the teaching by Arius that Jesus was not truly divine. The vigor of his writings earned him the title of doctor of the Church. 
<p>Born of a Christian family in Alexandria, Egypt, and given a classical education, Athanasius became secretary to Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria, entered the priesthood and was eventually named bishop himself. His predecessor, Alexander, had been an outspoken critic of a new movement growing in the East—Arianism. </p><p>When Athanasius assumed his role as bishop of Alexandria, he continued the fight against Arianism. At first it seemed that the battle would be easily won and that Arianism would be condemned. Such, however, did not prove to be the case. The Council of Tyre was called and for several reasons that are still unclear, the Emperor Constantine exiled Athanasius to northern Gaul. This was to be the first in a series of travels and exiles reminiscent of the life of St. Paul. </p><p>After Constantine died, his son restored Athanasius as bishop. This lasted only a year, however, for he was deposed once again by a coalition of Arian bishops. Athanasius took his case to Rome, and Pope Julius I called a synod to review the case and other related matters. </p><p>Five times Athanasius was exiled for his defense of the doctrine of Christ’s divinity. During one period of his life, he enjoyed 10 years of relative peace—reading, writing and promoting the Christian life along the lines of the monastic ideal to which he was greatly devoted. His dogmatic and historical writings are almost all polemic, directed against every aspect of Arianism. </p><p>Among his ascetical writings, his<i> Life of St. Anthony</i> (January 17) achieved astonishing popularity and contributed greatly to the establishment of monastic life throughout the Western Christian world.</p> American Catholic Blog Suffering is redemptive in part because it definitively reveals to man that he is not in fact God, and it thereby opens the human person to receive the divine.

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