The buddy cop love between Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg is strong in The Other Guys.
This unlikely of pairings may seem like pure novelty, yet under the direction of regular Ferrell cohort Adam McKay, it works under the rule of “crazier, the better”.
After all, McKay’s films are at their best when in bat-shit crazy mode, and with Ferrell playing Murtaugh to Wahlberg’s Riggs, The Other Guys succeeds as both a satire and addition to the buddy cop genre.
Besides its casting, the most interesting element is its choice of villain. No longer are drug dealers and murderers the scorn of this world; it is the financial sector which represents pure evil, as characterised in Steve Coogan’s shady stockbroker, inspired by the likes of Wall St. rascal Bernie Madoff.
For a new criminal there has to be a new kind of cop. Cue “other guys” Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg), a hot headed detective prone to shooting sport stars, and Allen Gamble (Ferrell) a police accountant whose conservative front hides a dark past.
Paperwork, not action, is there forte. Leading the charge in the kick ass stakes are the duo of Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson, buddy cop clichés who specialise in car chases, shoot outs, bad puns, and destruction of city property.
When their delusions of grandeur take them out of the picture, it is up to Terry and Allen to step up to the plate, and watching them do so is quite hilarious stuff.
Ferrell hasn’t been this good in years, utilising his shtick (which can only be called “Ferellesque”) to high results.
Yet the big surprise is Wahlberg, who handles the off the cuff comedic material with ease, his ability to play bad- boy- angry coupled with that wide eyed optimism he does oh so well, elevating the films material and mixing quite well with Ferrell’s unique brand of comedy.
A fun cast give fine supporting turns, with a game Eva Mendes a highlight as Ferrell’s smoking hot wife. Michael Keaton also provides the funny in what is a stellar year for the long underused actor. Hopefully more high profile turns will follow.
The Other Guys is not without its flaws, especially in its political/social damnation of the financial sector, which while innovative and surprising, just does not gel with its brand of comedy.
Yet its daring to be different is what makes The Other Guys such a good watch. Who would have thought that Mark Wahlberg could provide a fine comedic turn? Or, that a chase scene featuring a Toyota Prius could be bad ass? It is these elements and more which makes this film both surprising and entertaining, something lacking in this years’ comedy landscape.