Review: “The Other Guys”

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg buddy up in “The Other Guys”

Gamble (Ferrell) and Hoitz (Wahlberg) arresting David Ershon (Coogan)

Columbia Pictures

Gamble (Ferrell) and Hoitz (Wahlberg) arresting David Ershon (Coogan)

Tony Libera

âÄúThe Other GuysâÄù Directed by: Adam McKay Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton Rated: PG-13 Showing at: Area theaters The buddy cop film has been effectively beaten into the ground over the past 30-odd years, grinding clichés and hackneyed one-liners into our collective unconscious along the way. The genre itself isnâÄôt to blame; itâÄôs just difficult to find novel ways to tackle the same two-player premise. In âÄúThe Other Guys,âÄù co-writer/director Adam McKay adopts the parody approach, using muse Will Ferrell and a group of other hilarious actors to show the absurdity of the worn-out conventions, and to make us laugh while doing it. The film opens on two super cops, Highsmith and Danson (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson , respectively), in high-speed pursuit of a carful of criminals. The two detectives are as adept as they are destructive âÄî they crash into cars, shoot their guns with reckless abandon and even fly a pristine Chevelle SS into a passenger-filled bus. Ultimately, they stop the bad guys and a grateful city thanks them, ignoring the massive amounts of property damage that theyâÄôve racked up in the process. Highsmith and Danson are essentially the characters of a Michael Bay movie. They banter, theyâÄôre slick as hell and they get the job done âÄî until McKay calls B.S. ThatâÄôs when the titular âÄúother guysâÄù must step up. Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) is a straight-laced detective who prefers his office chair to any sort of fieldwork. Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) is his hot-headed partner, paired with the square Gamble as punishment for a high-profile gaffe. When the twosome investigate a shady businessman (Steve Coogan ), theyâÄôre unwittingly drawn into the world of gun fights, explosions and what some critics call non-stop, high-octane, adrenaline-pumping thrill rides. The script draws plenty of attention to the ridiculousness of average buddy cop fare. In McKayâÄôs world, police canâÄôt always leap across buildings in a single bound or calmly strut from a mushrooming explosion. His characters arenâÄôt always fearless and their actions arenâÄôt as graceful as Hollywood makes them seem. As expected, this is where Ferrell and company shine. GambleâÄôs characterization is somewhat of a departure from the man-children of âÄúStep BrothersâÄù and the like. He still has the classic Ferrell-ian tinge, but heâÄôs less infantile âÄî his goofiness owing to a by-the-books mentality and a happy purity. Mark Wahlberg also shows off some impressive comedic chops, though it shouldnâÄôt be a surprise. Dirk Diggler had plenty of moments fit for a McKay script and Tommy Corn (of âÄúI Heart HuckabeesâÄù) showed that Wahlberg could go against his tough-guy image to earn more than a few laughs. Here, Wahlberg draws from this pool, flexing his muscles to hide his softer side. At times, âÄúThe Other GuysâÄù lags, but the performances by Ferrell, Wahlberg and Michael Keaton, who plays Captain Gene Mauch, keep it afloat. At other times, the film becomes the very thing that itâÄôs trying to parody, but weâÄôre laughing so hard that we donâÄôt really care. 3/4 Stars