(Offensively funny or offensively lazy?) The Guard Review

The Guard Review
By Bret Dorman

Are you “easily” offended? Then you’ll love The Guard, a movie where Brendan Gleeson shows no apathy for criminals or victims alike, says racist things to a black guy right to his face, and has sex with prostitutes. Wait… if you are offended by something that means you like it right? No?

The Story: Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) is a “tell it like it is” cop who doesn’t follow any rules! Then he is teamed up with the straight laced and black FBI agent Everett (Don Cheadle) to track down some drugs. Also, what IS the difference between psychopath and sociopath?

Gerry Boyle is offensive! That’s ultimately all I took away from this movie. But I don’t understand how people could be offended by ‘Offensive Comedy’ when the point of it is to make you feel offended more than make you laugh. Just saying something offensive doesn’t make it funny.

Black people smell bad!

See. That isn’t funny and black people might be offended by it but they shouldn’t bucause I didn’t really mean for it to be offensive, I meant for it to be funny only I tried to do so by pretending to be offensive.

Black people smell like toilets!

That’s a little funnier. But it is still stupid and not a very good way to make a main character.

And yet that’s all Gerry Boyle is. We don’t see why he is offensive or see another side of him. Occaisionally he is nice to people in his own way but still tries to be offensive on purpose because ‘that’s who he is. Love him or leave him!’ Yeah!

Then there is Don Cheadle, who is black. And he is in Ireland, which is full of white people! Now THAT’S funny. Wait… is it? Cheadle’s character Everett plays everything by the book. Now THAT’S funny! wait…

Towards the end Boyle gets into a sticky situation and it’s actually a nice moment and even though the pay off is very predictable the comedy comes from how long he can actually get away with doing what he is doing and pretending like it is normal. That’s a funny scene.

Then at the end we are supposed to care for this character because for some reason he gets all dressed up and decides to settle his police work by going into a shootout he can’t possibly win. This whole time he hasn’t done any police work and then at the end he decides to do the right thing. Okay… right…

The only real source of comedy and fun in a violent/negative light comes from the 3 main bad guys who mostly just drive around insulting each other and getting into debates over trivial things. I think I would have preferred to see a movie starring them and I especially liked Mark’s Strong’s delivery and screen presence.

In Conclusion, I’m sure people who loved The Guard could try and make the case that there is more to Brendan Gleeson’s character than simply ‘trying to be offensive’ but I’m not so sure. Ultimately in trying to be “offensively funny” the movie succeeded in being offensive, in how bad it is, while not being funny most of the time.

Final Grade: D

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