Okay, so we weren’t away that long.
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, and so am I, on account of this blog. So for this week’s Movie And A Pizza, I decided to opt for a “slimline” pizza and go for a Co-Op chargrilled chicken (700 calories, which makes it the stick of celery of the pizza world), which I augmented with some buffalo mozzerella, chilli flakes and honey roast ham, and some Pizza Hut garlic and herb dip (thereby negating the slimline nature of the pizza in the first place), to accompany The Other Guys, starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.
First up, the film. Now, at first glance, The Other Guys seems like it might be a bit, well, cretinous. Absurd, pointlessly pyrotechnic opening scene, Samuel L. Jackson shouting in that way that he tends to use to compensate for the paucity of the material (Deep Blue Sea, anyone?), and an early crap joke involving a hot dog vendor. So far, so not-very-good. Almost all of the chief characters seem thoroughly unlikable, Will Ferrell is doing that Will Ferrell stiff-backed-nerd-in-a-world-of-jocks act that he often does. It feels for all the world like a Hollywood high-concept action comedy stuffed full of stars (Jackson! Ferrell! Wahlberg! Keaton! Coogan! The Rock! Ray Stevenson from Rome! Eva Mendes! Erm, Anne Heche…?) instead of any good jokes.
Well, stick with it. Really. Because as it develops, it soon blossoms into a series of extremely funny scenes which, although held together by the flimsiest of plots, are consistently what we in the movie reviewing game call “a hoot” in the hope that we’ll bag a poster quote out of it. Because that’s why us journalists get into the game in the first place, to be quoted on posters. There’s a very funny scene where the excellently twitchy, thwarted Wahlberg goes for dinner with his partner Ferrell for the first time, and finds with increasing disbelief that he is not only married to Eva Mendes’ stunning arse doctor (she’s an arse doctor who is stunning, not a doctor who only works on stunning arses) but he also a) doesn’t appear to find her very attractive and b) seemingly has an entire life history of similarly stunning girlfriends. There’s an even funnier scene when Wahlberg and Ferrell attempt to do a nice-and-nasty routine on Steve Coogan’s crooked banker, but Ferrell thinks that they are both meant to be playing the bad guy and beats the crap out of Coogan, something I’d assume we’d all enjoy doing. There’s a superb running gag about the fact that Wahlberg’s character became an expert ballet dancer and classical musician in his youth specifically so that he could mock “cissy kids” with his proficiency at their activities, and a truly masterful “love scene” in which Mendes, holed out at her ageing mother’s staked-out house, communicates her desire to a hiding Ferrell (and vice versa) by sending the old dear tottering out on a Zimmer frame to relay increasingly lurid sexual fantasies between husband and wife. All in all, greatly enjoyable, and a charming final gag involving a peacock too.
And so to the pizza, once again purchased in my local Co-Op and given a little pimping (actually, that reminds me of ANOTHER funny scene in The Other Guys, in which Ferrell explains how he inadvertently became a pimp while at college, but I digress) with some buffalo mozzerella, which I now have on constant call in the 12 Inch Pete Treat refrigerator, and honey roast ham. I overdid the chilli flakes AGAIN, because that’s what I do, but that was counteracted by some delightful Pizza Hut garlic and herb dip – Dominos, you need to be very careful about this, it could mount a serious challenge to your G&H superiority – and on a cold night in South London, and a Tuesday night at that, and a Tuesday night when I was deliberately not drinking, and on a Tuesday night when I was worrying about the cost of Christmas, and on a Tuesday night when racked with seasonal self-loathing, and on a… Okay, you get the picture. What I’m saying is, the pizza more than did the job for the occasion, for an outlay of £2 (pizza) plus 57p (mozzerella) plus 87p (ham) = £3.42. Truly, a pizza for a double-dip recession.
THE FILM: The Other Guys gets a very positive 8.5 out of 10. A rip-roaring barn-storming side-splitter of an action-comedy. There, stick that on your poster.
THE PIZZA: I’m always biased when I have tried a little pizza-pimping myself, so I’m going to give the pizza 8 out of 10, although, by Christ, a couple of glasses of Rioja would have gone down a storm with it.