Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton
Directed by: Adam McKay (“Step Brothers”)
Written by: Adam McKay (“Step Brothers”) and Chris Henchy (“Land of the Lost”)
While it’s not as dismal as the Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis vehicle “Cop Out” from earlier this year, the convoluted plot and countless misfires and clichés in “The Other Guys” definitely make for a subpar ride-a-long in the buddy-cop action sub-genre. A better name for it might’ve been “Policing for Schmucks.”
In “The Other Guys,” Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg star as a pair of NYPD cops whose embarrassing reputation among their fellow officers precedes them both. Allen Gamble (Ferrell), who has been transferred from accounting, would rather spend his time on the force sitting at a desk doing paperwork than be out in the field. His partner Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg), who was involved in an accidental shooting of a beloved sports star, is itching for a big case and is tired of watching the department’s hot shot cops (played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson) get all the glory for their death-defying car chases and shoot outs.
It’s when Allen and Terry finally get the chance to prove they can handle a high-profile case (Steve Coogan plays a shady investment banker involved in a white-collar crime) when the film decelerates and lets Ferrell and Wahlberg riff off each other without much direction or substance to their ranting and raving.
Jokes include making fun of Allen for driving a Prius, arguing about what music they should listen to on the radio, a smut-talking old lady, and a scene where Allen has to talk down a suicidal man from a ledge with no formal training. It’s all be done before and done a lot funnier. When the jokes start repeating themselves (on more than one occasion Terry compares himself to an eager-to-fly peacock), it is evident “The Other Guys” has run out of things to say and do.
The only running joke that is fairly humorous is when Allen introduces Terry to his drop-dead gorgeous wife Sheila (Eva Mendes) and proceeds to underrate just how attractive she is. Terry wonders how a woman like Shelia could be interested in a man as maniacal and irksome as Allen.
Thin on character and hilarious moments and overwritten on plot, “The Other Guys” will probably please the biggest of Ferrell’s fans, but these are the same moviegoers that were rolling in the aisles for “Land of the Lost,” “Semi-Pro,” and “Blades of Glory.” Others who like him in smaller, more controlled doses just might need to take a pass on this one.