The Other Guys
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg
Stars: 4 out of 5
Buddy cop movies are notorious for so many clichés that you'd think the genre would be open to numerous great satires. Films such as Hollywood Homicide, Taxi, Showtime and, most recently, Kevin Smith's Copout, have proven that poking fun at buddy cop movies is easier said than done. Although there have been some successful send-ups of the genre, like Hot Fuzz, a majority of these movies fall flat because they never decide whether they want to be a lampoon or a flat-out action comedy. Where some of these films have fallen short, The Other Guys is a buddy cop comedy that works due to the chemistry of its leads and some hilariously-written dialog.
The movie opens in New York City as two hero cops played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson attempt to stop a bunch of robbers. They catch the criminals in a high-speed chase that's about as probable as the most preposterous scenes in Wanted or the two Bad Boys movies. Even though their actions cause thousands of dollars in damages, the two cops are still praised as heroes. It's then revealed that these action stars are not the focus of the movie but rather two desk jockeys, aka "The Other Guys."
Will Ferrell plays Alan, a nerdy forensic accountant forced to carry a wooden training gun because he's unqualified to operate a real one. His partner is Terry, a once promising up-and-coming cop who accidentally shot a Major League Baseball all-star played by Mark Wahlberg. While Alan is comfortable at his desk getting picked on by his co-workers, Terry pines to become a hero cop. They get caught up in a crime involving an evil businessman played by Ray Stevenson. I won't get into that though because it's the least interesting aspect of the movie.
Ferrell and Wahlberg are about as likely of a pair as Jackie Chann and Chris Tucker. Yet, they make for an indisputably endearing duo with Ferrell as the sensitive good cop and Wahlberg as the gritty wannabe bad cop. Also funny here is Eva Mendes as Ferrell's dedicated wife, who despite being glamorous is treated like an old bag by Alan. After providing the voice of Ken in Toy Story 3, Michael Keaton continues to revive his talent as the police station's captain, who works a second job at Bed, Bath and Beyond. In addition there's a left-field twist involving the characters played by Jackson and Johnson, which I will not reveal for it will ruin the movies greatest laugh.
Director Adam McKay, who has worked with Ferrell on several different occasions, has crafted a winning buddy cop satire with even more laugh-out-loud moments than his Step Brothers and Talladega Nights and almost as many as Anchorman. There are times when The Other Guys almost meanders into Lethal Weapon territory and becomes a routine action picture. But the film redeems those needless action sequences with some of the funniest moments of the year. Besides, I guess a couple of chases and explosions in a movie like this in inevitable.