When you go to a movie starring Will Ferrell that's directed by Adam McKay, you've probably got a good idea of what to expect already. After all, these two guys gave us Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers and Funny or Die.com. To say The Other Guys is a silly comedy based on the comedic styling of Will Ferrell would be stating the obvious.
But The Other Guys isn't just a rehash of old jokes. It's also a parody of the classic buddy cop action subgenre. To accomplish this, McKay gives us Mark Wahlberg in his first attempt at actually trying to be funny, and it actually works. After laughing my ass off at his performance in The Happening, it was nice to see Wahlberg be in on the joke this time around.
Basically, The Other Guys is what we all wanted Cop Out to be. And yes, even though most of the jokes here rely on Will Ferrell's distinct observational humor, McKay knows how to weave it into the story so it's not as staggeringly tedious as it was in Land of the Lost.
Ferrell plays Forensic Accountant Alan Gamble, a content desk jockey at the department who is teamed up with indignant Detective Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg) who has been sidelined because of a mishap involving his pistol and Derek Jeter. When the two renowned super-cops P.K. Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Christopher Danson (Dwayne Johnson) are taken out of commission, Hoitz and Gamble seize an opportunity to fill their shoes, something Hoitz has always wanted to do.
But lugging around the seemingly incompetent Gamble proves more difficult than Hoitz imagined, incurring much wrath from their superior, Captain Gene Mauch, played hilariously by Michael Keaton. I always loved Keaton's comedic delivery and I'm glad to see him back out there this year in Toy Story 3 and The Other Guys. Watching him scold Ferrell and Wahlberg is one of the film's several high points. Other high points include Eva Mendes as Ferrell's inexplicably hot wife, and Wahlbergs double and triple-takes in relation to her interaction with her uptight hubby.
While the chemistry between Wahlberg and Ferrell is uneven at best, the film manages to pull off its goals nicely; let's be honest here, it's all about the jokes. Without Ferrell's unique brand of humor, it would just be a weaker version of Edgar Wright's Hot Fuzz. But because McKay knows how to use Ferrell to his advantage, rather than let him run amok, what we get is closer to the quotable belly laughs of Anchorman.
It's clearly too soon to know whether The Other Guys will catch on and achieve cult status like McKay's 1970's news anchor parody, but judging by the amount of laughs I got out of it, it's got a good chance.