The Other Guys certainly isn’t Hollywood’s first buddy cop movie. It’s not even the first one this year, thanks to February’s release of Cop Out.
With The Other Guys, however, comic Will Ferrell and Oscar-nominee Mark Wahlberg aim to revitalize the long-standing genre that has flourished since the 1980s with favorites like Beverly Hills Cop, Stakeout and Lethal Weapon.
Commonly comprised of two opposing lawmen, the buddy cop movie may be a perennial favourite but the real question is, how true to life are these films?
“Certainly I think they sex them up a bit for Hollywood,” said Cam Woolley, a retired 30-year Ontario Provincial Police officer and now a television reporter on Toronto’s CP24. “(But) most people probably wouldn’t believe how much of it is true.”
Ethnicity often plays a central factor in many of these films (48 Hrs, Rush Hour) but they aren’t completely reliant on cultural distinctions. More importantly, the main characteristic of all buddy cop films has to do with the interdependence between distinct personalities.
“(In movies), they’re usually dissimilar and that’s where you have half the fun, where you have these two characters that don’t fit very well,” said Woolley. “And that’s true because the police aren’t usually picking their partners for a variety of reasons, but you ultimately have to depend on each other.”
Whether it’s such big-ticket blockbusters as Bad Boys or a Canadian hit like Bon Cop, Bad Cop, it’s that conflicting alliance that creates the perfect contrast for classic comedy.
“When coppers watch these movies, there’s lots of little sideways looks and giggles,” laughed Woolley, before hinting at an added value perhaps only officers can appreciate. “I always found it amusing that the boss always gets an extra hard ride.”