Among the array of hackneyed celluloid clichés from the buddy cop genre mashed up with a Revenge of the Nerds fantasy mill, wherein every inept schmuck nevertheless gets to be hero due their moment in the spotlight, which are assembled in the trailer for “The Other Guys,” festers a long-running joke about the inability of Will Ferrell’s character to recognise he’s married to a beautiful woman. Audiences are supposed to find it a knee slapper that he can’t see how hot Eva Mendes is in the wife role. Flabbergasted as the partner in a clip from the introduction scene, Mark Wahlberg looks from husband to wife for an explanation, an answer to how it is that a man can glimpse a beauty and refer to her with oblique distaste as “the ball and chain.”
The punch line taps into a collective disdain for all things distaff.
It’s the Hollywood standard once crystallized by a silver screen actor and repeated not long ago onscreen: “Show me a beautiful woman, I’ll show you a man who’s tired of fucking her.”
This brand of locker room humour combines the cultural sentiment regarding women as those beings men are compelled to tolerate with the pleasure to be had in witnessing a pretty woman taken down a notch. Above tapping into male viewer’s envy for the action hero derring-do, the film hedges bets for the wonder audiences will reserve for a man onscreen who looks right through the hottie, instead of acting like a stammering, powerless jerk. Mark my words: dudes will go bonkers for the character’s knack for treating a goddess as though she’s a hag. It’s the superpower misogynists crave most.
“The Other Guys” also wastes no time reminding the viewer that women are not the buddy, mate, confidant, ally, colleague or mentor in any script. Men do stuff with other men, have hijinks, adventures, conversation, madcap scrapes, shoot-‘em-ups and heart-to-hearts. Then they go home to a cipher, one to be ignored beyond a basic legal obligation as “ball and chain.” Even a 10 is only a woman.
“The Other Guys” mirrors the cultural shorthand of the gender police.
Men matter and women may as well be invisible.