The Other Guy(s)

I had planned on doing a comprehensive movie review for 2010’s “The Other Guys,” which I saw last night for the first time.  However, this buddy cop comedy(?) starring Mark Wahlberg as Detective Terry Hoitz and Will Ferrell as Will Ferrell doesn’t really warrant that kind of detailed treatment.

I’ll only hit the highlights: The first Eva Mendes scene was funny.  Michael Keaton was solid.  Duane and Samuel were moderately amusing.  That’s about it.  The story was needlessly complex in a way that helped neither the plot nor the comedy, and the incredibly talented Steve Coogan was completely wasted here.

Just to clarify, I mean that he wasn’t utilized properly.  I do not mean that he was intoxicated during filming.  Had he been, it might have made for a better picture.

That’s right – I said, “picture!”

I think the Ferrell / McKay partnership ran its course a couple of movies ago.  It’s probably time for them to part ways, at least as far as feature-length films are concerned.  I chuckled maybe three times.   Making matters worse, there seemed to be some sort of heavy-handed, tacked-on “message” about corporate greed and bailouts that fell perfectly flat.

So, in lieu of the rest of a more in-depth rendering, I will defiantly and almost-inexplicably review the Little River Band song of the (almost) same name.*

Following the height of LRB’s popularity in the late 70’s, the band underwent wholesale changes during a tumultuous period that ended in 1982.  The most notable alteration was the departure of lead singer Glenn Shorrock.  Replacement John Farnham took over vocal duties as the group awkwardly prepared both to transition to a new sound and release a greatest hits package that celebrated the very sound that had made it a success in the first place.

The band decided to include a couple of new tracks with their Greatest Hits album.   These would be the first songs featuring Farnham, and “The Other Guy” was his debut single at the mic for LRB.

The song highlights Farnham, but not at the expense of the familiar LRB background harmonies, which are quite prominent.   Farnham’s different vocal style is apparent immediately, contrasting sharply with the tracks sung by Shorrock, who always sounded a little like Stephen Stills to me.  Farnham’s voice skews more toward “pop” than “rock,” showcasing the chops he developed as a teen idol in Australia.

The lyrics are simple enough.   Unlike the aforementioned movie, there’s nothing convoluted about the plot: The protagonist is in a relationship with a girl who is cheating on him with another man.

Does he dump her?  No.

Does he threaten to fight the titular Guy?  No.

Instead, he “makes his case” to the woman by listing the ways in which he is superior to her paramour.

He punctuates this by asking her for another chance(!).

It’s interesting to me that they made Farnham sing from the point-of-view of such a wimp in his first outing.  That must be the soft rock equivalent to hazing.   I’m wondering now if Shorrock quit the band just to avoid sounding like a puss on the next big single.

In any event, the harmonies and arrangement cover whatever kind of content shortcomings the song may have.  As I always say – for me, music is a visceral experience.   If it sounds good, I like it.  If it doesn’t, I don’t.  It’s that cut-and-dry. “The Other Guy” sounds decent enough.  Were I to rate things in such a fashion, I would give it three stars out of five, which is at least one more star than I would give “The Other Guys.”

* Despite the fact that the movie is called “The Other Guys,” and Will Ferrell’s character is explicitly a huge Little River Band fan in the movie, the song “The Other Guy” is never used, nor is there even a mention of the fact that LRB had a song with that name.  This was either a bizarre oversight or a licensing snafu.
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