The Other Guys

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A 2010 Adam McKay action comedy that satirizes the Buddy Cops picture.

The Other Guys focuses on two New York City police detectives Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz (Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg) that have been office pencil pushers for years, while the station's two top cops Highsmith and Danson (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) garner praise from not only the NYPD, but from the entire city for their cowboy, take-no-prisoners antics. After an unforeseen event forces the department to bring two new cops to the forefront to deal with a corporate embezzlement scheme, our two mismatched desk jockeys finally get the chance to prove their mettle and show that they can save the day... all without getting each other killed or driving each other crazy.

Compare Hot Fuzz.

Tropes used in The Other Guys include:

Terry: If we were in the wild, I would attack you. Even if you weren't in my food chain, I would go out of my way to attack you. If I were a lion and you were a tuna, I would swim out in the middle of the ocean and freakin' eat you! And then I'd bang your tuna girlfriend.
Allen: Okay, first off: a lion? Swimming in the ocean? Lions don't like water. If you'd placed it near a river or some sort of fresh water source, that'd make sense. But you find yourself in the ocean, twenty foot waves, I'm assuming it's off the coast of South Africa, coming up against a full-grown, 800 pound tuna with his twenty or thirty friends? You lose that battle. You lose that battle nine times out of ten.


Hoitz: Did you shout 'America' back there?
Gamble: No, of course not. Why would I shout 'America'?

  • Bavarian Fire Drill: "Ladies and gentlemen, guess who gave me the secret to making my first million... That guy there!"
  • Binge Montage
  • Black Dude Dies First: Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson's super-cop characters have this happen to them early in the flick, when one of their death defying moments of glory goes horribly wrong. They leap off a building with no conveniently placed item to break their fall.
  • Black Helicopter: And two unmarked white vans.
  • Blatant Lies: Ershon is adamant that offering ten million dollars to cops for not doing their job is definitely not a bribe. Gamble insists that he wasn't a pimp.
  • Bloodless Carnage: To be expected in any comedy movie, but when Danson and Highsmith fall 20 stories and the only thing to crack is the pavement, you know a line has been crossed.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Hoitz, half of the time. "I'm a peacock; you gotta let me fly!"
  • Book Ends: The narration by Ice-T includes a Title Drop at the beginning and end.
  • Brick Joke: In the beginning of the film, Will Ferrell's character is convinced to do a "desk pop". When he fires his gun in Mark Wahlberg's apartment, he offhandedly says "Apartment pop". The Binge Montage even has a couple of "bar pops".
    • The flying peacock at the end of the movie.
    • Bob. Just Bob. First he gets yelled at by Terry just for asking him to come to a conference; then we see him at the board meeting, about to invest the police pension fund; then finally when Wesley is apprehended, he's one of the cops with their guns on him.
    • After Ershon learns that Gamble calls himself "Gator", he is shown in prison wearing a T-shirt bearing the logo of the University of Florida Gators.
  • Brutal Honesty: Mrs. Gamble is a little too forward about her sex life, even to her parents.
  • Bullet Time
  • By-The-Book Cop: Detective Gamble.
  • Car Fu: "It turned backwards, then it went upside down!"
  • Cassandra Truth: After a couple of botch-ups, the rest of the police stop believing Gamble and Hoitz.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: "Your hair is really soft!"
  • Chase Scene: A few.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Faceback. May overlap with Brick Joke.
    • The jewelry store robbery.
  • Chew Toy: In a way. Hoitz certainly thinks he's this, and life does dump on him a lot, but it's evident much of his misfortune is his own fault, and him being such a terrible person isn't helping things. Character development, however, does help by the end of the movie.
  • Chick Magnet: Gamble doesn't seem to notice that he's irresistible to hot women, something which utterly perplexes Hoitz.
  • Click. "Hello.": Done to a harmless clerk during the climax.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Both Allen and Terry.
    • It's probably easier to list the characters who aren't.
  • Comically Missing the Point
  • Commander Contrarian: Partially subverted. Captain Mauch secretly knows the truth about the plot, but tries to stop Hoitz and Gamble precisely because he knows how dangerous it is.
    • Further subverted in while Gamble and Hoitz give him no small measure of grief and force him to chastise them over and over, he's completely pleasant with them outside the office.
  • Cowboy Cop: Detectives Danson and Highsmith are the standard badass version while Detective Hoitz tries to be this and drags Gamble along for the ride.
  • Cringe Comedy: Oh boy....
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Roger Wesley threatens to slice David Ershon's ear off with a butterknife. Ershon even lampshades it by saying, "Oh, that's blunt. Blunt's worse than if it's sharp."
  • Da Chief: Captain Mauch, who is probably the most mellow example imaginable.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: When Gamble and Hoitz first go to Ershon's office, he's watching Hentai on his laptop, and has trouble turning it off.
  • Dawson Casting: Parodied. In a flashback to his college days, younger Gamble looks exactly like his older self. No attempts to hide his grey hair of wrinkles were made.
  • Death as Comedy: Danson and Highsmith's "jump" is played as nothing short of utterly hilarious.
  • Deconstructive Parody: Definitely leans in this direction. In particular, Danson and Highsmith are presented as Jerk Sue characters for satirical effect, and they are one of many elements that lead to Conversational Troping of cop movie tropes not fitting real life. Not to mention the message at the end to the effect of "Corrupt Corporate Executives as the real criminals."
  • Determinator: Gamble's ex-girlfriend and her husband. "COME BACK HERE AND HAVE SEX WITH MY WIFE!"
    • "He chased us twenty miles?!"
  • Desk Jockey
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Chechens.
  • Domestic Abuse: He never gets physical, but Allen Gamble (one of the heroes) is emotionally abusive to his wife to a rather disturbing extent, vigorously and repeatedly insulting her physical appearance, sense of style, cooking ability and calling her an adulterer and whore when she reveals that she is pregnant. This occurs both in private and in the presence of others. He later explains that he does this all because he fears that, if she ever realizes how truly beautiful she is, she will leave him; this makes things worse, since it shows that he is aware that his actions are wrong and is deliberately traumatizing his wife for his own ends. It is not Played for Laughs, it does not set up an Aesop, it is just... awful.
    • Well, the pregnancy thing was implied to be some kind of horrible Pavlovian response from his college pimp days, not that it makes it better.
    • There is a little ray of hope at the end, when Allen goes through Character Development and we're left to infer that the two reconciled and he isn't as much of a jerk anymore...but yeah this is Cringe Comedy at its best/worst.
    • The abuse part was Played for Laughs, actually. The later explanation was not, to demonstrate Character Development. And while Allen admits the reasons behind his behavior, he may well have meant that his insecurities were driving his behavior without realizing it until that point - it doesn't mean that his abuse was some deliberate, crafty, evil plan all along.
      • That's actually how emotional and physical abuse works in real life. Beat a person down enough (physically/emotionally) and isolate them enough, and they can't ever leave you.
      • Her reaction (or real lack thereof) seems to imply she's already figured this all out and takes the abuse because she knows he doesn't mean it and understands why his insecurities are doing this. When he snaps for real, she promptly kicks him out.
    • She never actually seems to pay too much attention to his insults. It's treated more like he just mocks her for himself and never intends to actually hurt her.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: "'Cause it's the FBI, right? It has the same logo, the same shield. And at first glance you're like 'Oh, it's just a mug that says FBI', but... but then at second glance you're like 'F-Female Body Inspector? Get outta town! This is outrage-'"
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Roger Wesley is for all intents and purposes the main villain. Nominally Pamela Boardman (who hired Wesley to keep an eye on Ershon and ordered Ershon to get back 'her' money) is the Big Bad but she seems entirely detached from any actual direct machinations.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: You gotta wonder how Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson could sign on for a movie where their characters are killed in the first twenty minutes over a stupidly hilarious stunt gone horribly awry.
    • Yeah, you really do.
      • Actually, given both of their approach to acting, how much they're both known for loving what they do, and how fun both of those role obviously were, it's not that hard to explain.
      • Also, given how both have already done films that make fun of their action hero typecasting, it makes sense.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Subverted. Hoitz keeps thinking that all the crimes/criminals are drug related when in fact they are white collar financial crimes. Also Danson and Highsmith cause millions of dollars worth of damage chasing after some guys who only have a small amount of marijuana on them.
    • Those guys were also dangerously armed, and firing back at the cops too...
  • Edutainment Show: The end credits has a rather informative animated slideshow about Big Company corruption.
  • Epic Fail: With Danson and Highsmith "Aim for the bushes".
  • Eyedscreen: kicking off the movie's climax from the boardroom (see Guns Akimbo above) onwards.
    • When they are chased by bad guys, Allen says that there is a shortcut at the Chelsea Pier. Eventually, they and up on the fenced-off mini-golf course. In GTA IV, there is really a shortcut in this place.
    • Hoitz having the mad skills to curb-stomp a band of motorcycle hitmen single-handedly may well have stemmed from the physical coordination derived from dance lessons.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: A helicopter. Also, the Escalade in the beginning.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Played for laughs.

"Mr. Ershon, Detective Gamble and the officer who shot Derek Jeter here."

  • Gang of Hats: Inverted. Terry and Allen go up against people in business suits so many times because the bad guys are business people.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The Chechen version of Dora the Explorer.
  • Good Cop, Bad Cop: OK, more like bad cop, psycho cop.
    • Also parodied when they interrogate Ershon in his office.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Completely subverted We get to watch Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson fall to their deaths, without any scene cut whatsoever, including when they hit the ground.
  • Guns Akimbo: While inside of a car being launched out of a double-decker bus into a building.
    • And done later on by Hoitz during a boardroom shoot-out.
  • Hellish Copter: A helicopter gets taken out by a volley of golf balls.
  • Hidden Depths: Hoitz did a lot of mocking kids who danced in his childhood, accidentally becoming a skilled ballet dancer in the process.
    • It's more likely that he tries to maintain his tough guy persona, because he is a good ballet dancer, plays harp, and is well-versed in modern art. He is also much more empathic than he would like to show.
      • Note during the ballet scene he's inexplicably wearing jazz shoes.
    • Straightlaced Gamble acts that way because of a Dark and Troubled Past as a (literal) pimp in college. Now he's also a software expert.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Textbook example with Allen's car near the end.
  • Homage: David Ershon bandies the buzzword "excess" in his speech, just as Gordon Gekko did with "greed".
  • Hot Pursuit
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: "Where did you learn to drive like that?" "Grand Theft Auto!"
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Some protagonists and antagonists seem to be star graduates.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Hoitz can shoot down an overhead banner to take down motorcyclists pursuing him. Wesley can pull off three nonfatal shots in rapid succession (at close range no doubt, but making them nonfatal at that rate is harder than you'd think).
    • Well, the latter is not so improbable for a ex-special forces professional bodyguard.
  • Insistent Terminology: Allen sure takes a long time to admit that he was a pimp in college. Ershon has a similar hangup with the word 'bribe'.
  • Insult Backfire/Sidetracked by the Analogy: Involving lions and tuna.
  • It Amused Me: "You mate, I'm gonna kill just for fun." - Wesley, to the bystander bank clerk who asks him whether or not he want the transfer approved.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: Allen says this about Sheila's cooking (see Moral Dissonance below).
  • Jerkass: Detective Hoitz.
  • Karma Houdini: Pamela Boardman when she gets a bailout.
  • Kavorka Man: Detective Gamble.
  • Little Useless Gun: Literally. Gamble's real gun is replaced by a wooden prop and then that's taken away and replaced with a rape whistle.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Arguably those songs Allen sings in the bar. Hoitz lampshades by saying they're depressing.
  • Metaphorgotten: Hoitz expresses the belief that "I'm a peacock! You gotta let me fly!" Numerous characters point out that that doesn't make any sense, notably because peacocks can't fly but one does at the end for symbolism and Rule of Funny.
  • N-Word Privileges: (on 'tips for staying out of jail') "One: Try your hardest not to be black or Hispanic." Would they have given that line to a white guy? Well, maybe, but it's certainly less offensive for the placement.
    • Plus, well, it's funnier coming from the black guy, who's talking to a grade school class, showing off about being a successful cop.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers always show Mark Wahlberg's character playing the Straight Man to Will Ferrell's antics. The truth is Detective Hoitz is just as crazy as Gamble, if not crazier.
    • Actually, it becomes apparent that Hoitz is masking his gentle side with juvenile antics while Gamble's self-imposed control hides a borderline psychotic personality.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Averted and lampshaded.
    • "How do they walk away in movies without flinching when it explodes behind them!? There's no way! I CALL BULLSHIT ON THAT! When they flew the Millenium Falcon outside of the Death Star and it was followed by the explosion, that was bullshit!"
      • "Don't you DARE bad-mouth Star Wars, that was ALL accurate!"
    • Mark Wahlberg wasn't wearing a hat, that's why.
  • Noodle Implements: Apparently Gamble wants to do something to Eva Mendes involving a mannequin hand and a golf club with a shaving razor attached to it.
  • Noodle Incident: "I thought I was gonna hafta shoot my way out... What are you gonna do, y'know, bar mitzvahs..."
    • Notably averted with the shooting of Derek Jeter. Then they bring it up enough to push it straight into Running Gag territory.
    • "I got so drunk last night I think I thought a tube of toothpaste was astronaut food!"
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Subverted.
  • The Plot Reaper: The two super-cops die, so Hoitz and Gamble have a chance at being in the spotlight.
  • Prison Rape: Alluded to when one of the jerkass detectives taunts Ershon- "I hope you like prison food." *Beat* "...and penis." It's the "tips for staying out of jail" cop, too.
  • Product Placement: The Toyota Prius and Bed Bath and Beyond, of course. There are others, like Cakesters and Vaio.
  • The Real Heroes: The Aesop of the movie is that the real heroes are the ones who genuinely make the world a better place, instead of doing more harm than good and still getting in the paper for being big and flashy like Highsmith and Danson
  • Reality Ensues: The Unflinching Walk doesn't work here.
    • This is also how The Rock's and Sam Jackson's characters died early in the movie.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: What happened to Hoitz after he accidentally shot Derek Jeter.
    • Becomes an Ironic Echo when it happens to both Hoitz and Gamble later on. While Hoitz learns to mellow out for the first time in his life, Gamble Took a Level in Badass.
  • Refuge in Audacity
  • Running Gag: Captain Mauch unwittingly quoting lyrics from the band TLC with Detective Hoitz and Gamble's disbelief that he's doing it by accident.
    • Random attractive women being into Gamble (except Terry's girlfriend).
      • Not merely 'attractive' but explicitly 'hot' (i.e. sexy) women; Terry's girlfriend is played by Lindsay Sloane who, though pretty, is more of an understated attractiveness than the obvious babes that seem to fall for Gamble.
      • At the end, Gamble says he lost his virginity to Heather Locklear.
    • Wesley and his fellow thugs taking Hoitz's shoes and Gamble's wooden gun
    • Gamble's Prius being used for Hobo orgies.
    • Hoitz's fascination with Sheila that causes him to repeat everything concerning her a few times. During conversation with her husband, nonetheless.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Gamble and Hoitz, of course. Then gradually Deconstructed.
  • Serious Business: What does Hoitz do, when he and Gamble are in shock after the the nearby explosion and Gamble shouts that the destruction of the Death Star was all but realistic? Warn him not to bad-mouth Star Wars, of course.
  • Shout-Out: The captain is named Gene Mauch.
  • Sidetracked by the Analogy: Allen does this frequently.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Foo Fighters' "My Hero" just before two heroic cops jump 20 stories straight into the sidewalk.
  • Stuff Blowing Up
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: Gator for Allen.
  • Take Up My Sword: The entire plot of the movie revolves around cops who feel that it is their time to step up and prove themselves in order to replace the two heroes of the setting when they die in the line of duty.
    • Subverted in that, thought Hoitz and Gamble ended up becoming heroes for exposing the white collar crime that was going to bankrupt the police pension fund, they don't become the heroic replacement super cops. They stay the Other Guys, who the film makes out to be the real heroes: the guys who don't look spectacular saving the day, but do it nonetheless.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: The two super-cops.
  • There Was a Door: our heroes crash the Prius through the garage door rather than let Ershon open it first.
  • Those Two Guys: Practically the movie's premise (if the title didn't tip you off). Ironically, it's the Jerk Jock pair, Martin and Fosse, who get this role.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Danson and Highsmith.
  • Troperrific
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Zigzagged. In the unrated version, they parody modern art with a coffee table with junk on it, then it turns out Hoitz understands the "artsy-fartsy" piece better than his artistically inclined ex does and still thinks its crap. Then his genuine tirade is critiqued and cheered on as if it was provocative performance piece.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Allen and Sheila. No, really.

Terry: "Seriously, who is she?"


How do they walk away in movies without flinching when it explodes behind them? There's NO WAY!

  • Unusual Euphemism: "Soup kitchen".
    • Averted with Gamble, who still calls it a "dating service".

"That was no pimp... Pimps don't cry."

  • Visual Pun: Hoitz and Gamble may have given the term "Driving Range" a new meaning.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Allen. "Is that a wastebasket?"
  • Watch the Paint Job: Boy, does that Prius suffer.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Captain Mauch swears he doesn't know he's quoting TLC.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Gamble's app "Faceback". Though being able to construct the back of someone's head from photos of their face is an amazing technical achievement. The fact that it also works in reverse subverts this somewhat.
  • What Were You Thinking?
  • White Collar Crime: The credits detail not only some of the legit (but often greedy or stupid) finances that got us into the credit crunch, but also some of the now blatant criminality of some financial practices, such as a Ponzi scheme.
  • World of Cardboard Speech: Gamble/Gator gets one of these when he allows himself to lose control (just a little).
  • Would Hit a Girl: Of the hero being willing to hit a villainess kind. We don't actually see Hoitz hit the Brazilian Dark Action Girl but he does so hard enough that she's still unconscious several minutes later.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Wahlberg's character seems to be forcibly trying to turn his life into a buddy cop action movie, and for the most part, he kind of succeeds, except for his insistence that the bad guys must be connected to drugs somehow.
    • And Highsmith and Danson are, of course, not prepared to live outside a Bad Boys-esque action-thriller.