The buddy cop movie is fertile ground for comedy spoofage – we already saw Kevin Smith take a shot with Cop Out. Now frequent collaborators Will Ferrell and Adam McKay step up to the badge with The Other Guys, and it manages to be one of the best comedies of the summer.
The concept is simple: everybody loves a pair of cops, played gleefully over the top by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson. Unfortunately, our heroes are a nebbishy “forensic accountant” played by Ferrell and a hair-trigger lunatic who got busted down to desk duty for shooting Derek Jeter played by Mark Wahlberg. When a dastardly British financier running a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme comes under investigation, it’s the two scrubs who draw the case, and from there the shoot goes bananas. Like Ferrell and McKay’s previous movies (Anchorman, say), The Other Guys is packed to the gills with gags, and rockets along at a brisk (if ridiculous) clip. Characters and concepts are introduced and tossed aside with ADD aplomb – hey look, there’s Eva Mendes as Ferrell’s hot wife – and things get less interesting once the explosions start.
But these comedies work for a very good reason: they cast hilarious people and let them go bananas. Ferrell is spectacular as the ultimate beta male, driving a red Prius and toting a wooden gun in his holster. Wahlberg works primarily as the straight man, which is fine, but he’s the only thing even close to a weak link in this cast. It’s hard to talk about The Other Guys without giving away the jokes, and Lord knows I don’t want to do that, so go see it and then we can discuss in the comments or something. Highly recommended.