The long-gestating sequel to Oliver Stone's 1986 classic Wall Street has arrived, and it's definitely its father's daughter, complete with motorcycles, Charlie Sheen (in cameo) and the Talking Heads on the soundtrack. But the picture it paints of corporate greed has shifted from the anything-goes attitude of the 1980s to the finger-pointing blame game of the 2008 financial crisis, and while it tries to show us how stock prices are just as sensitive to rumor-mongering now as they were then, it doesn't really explain to us what caused the collapse. (I think Josh Brolin did it? Maybe?) Mostly, the old money guys sit around long tables and yell at each other for creating bad debt and bad credit and nobody seems to know where "the bottom" is. There's a bit of a revenge story going on, but it's ultimately not very important, and for the most part the movie just isn't as good as The Other Guys, which managed to be funny, informative and action-packed.
"Say hi to your money for me!" Mark Wahlberg became intimately familiar with the contents of America's wallets this weekend as one half of The Other Guys along with co-star Will Ferrell. The film is mostly marketed as a Will Ferrell picture, and is being compared to Anchorman and Talladega Nights in terms of box-office take and overall hilarity, but Wahlberg was equally key, and the pair had great chemistry together. Still, the movie's nearly $36 million take erased memories of Ferrell's last movie, the flop Land of the Lost (which was still reasonably funny) and doubled the amount of money made by Cop Out in its opening weekend. And rightly so!
In all the ways that count, The Other Guys is a standard Will Ferrell movie. It features absurd scene resolutions, conversations about conversations, and violent vocal outbursts a-plenty. But it may be the funniest one yet. I know, I know, Anchorman, Elf and Talladega Nights are all pretty damn funny, but there's nothing like seeing a fresh movie for the first time to eclipse everything that came before. At the very least, this movie is just as funny as anything Will Ferrell has ever done, thanks to hysterical performances by Mark Wahlberg and Michael Keaton, and possibly even more ridiculous and nonsensical. Seriously, there are moments in the film where you will literally say, out loud, "What the hell?!" Okay, you'll probably use stronger language, but I'm assuming there will be kids around -- it's PG-13, after all.
"It's a man's world, but it don't mean nothing without a woman or a nerd." I'm paraphrasing James Brown, but the men were certainly on top this weekend as approximately 500 biceps rippled across theater screens to the tune of $35 million, putting The Expendables at the top of the box-office, over Julia Roberts' return to form Eat Pray Love and Edgar Wright's hardcore geekfest Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Looks like that call to arms worked, huh? This means there will now almost definitely be an Expendables 2, which director/star Sylvester Stallone wants to shake up the cast for. (If Mr. Stallone is looking for some casting ideas, we've raided our VHS libraries to come up with a few suggestions.)
Curse, you, Minions, for being so adorable -- and for making me spend so much money at IHoP.