The Other Guys (3 stars)

The Other Guys

(12A) 107min

The action/comedy genre gets a welcome boost with Adam McKay’s crowd-pleaser The Other Guys teaming Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz, an oddly-matched couple of New York cops. After years in the shadows of showboating rivals PK Highsmith and Chris Danson (Samuel L Jackson and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), Gamble and Hoitz find themselves centre stage when their long-suffering captain (Michael Keaton) allows them to investigate crooked industrialist David Ershon (Steve Coogan). But given Gamble’s placidity and Hoitz’s numbskull mentality, the wannabe super-cops quickly find themselves in over their heads, not helped by Holtz’s crush on Gamble’s unnaturally attractive wife (Eva Mendes).

After a series of misbegotten vehicles for Ferrell (Semi-Pro, Land of the Lost) and Wahlberg (Max Payne, The Happening), The Other Guys wisely re-employs the writing/directing skills of Saturday Night Live veteran Adam McKay (who worked similar wonders with rare Ferrell hit Anchorman). The chemistry of the two leads evokes memories of Alan Arkin and James Caan in Richard Rush’s excellent 1974 comedy policier Freebie and The Bean, with running jokes about Gamble’s past as a pimp, homeless people having orgies in Gamble’s Prius, and a sequence in which the twosome’s inability to recognise a bribe leads them to suspend their investigation in exchange for front row tickets to Broadway shows.

Without aspiring to be much more than low-brow Saturday night entertainment, The Other Guys deserves credit for delivering on its promise; showcasing Wahlberg’s previously unknown skills as a ballet dancer demonstrates a sense of fun lacking in most aspiring blockbusters.

General release, Fri 17 Sep.

The Other Guys trailer

The Other Guys

  • 3 stars
  • 2010
  • US
  • 1h 47min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Adam McKay
  • Written by: Chris Henchy, Adam McKay
  • Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Steve Coogan, Michael Keaton, Samuel L Jackson, Dwayne Johnson

Pairing Ferrell and Wahlberg as the incompetent cop duo is a good move on director McKay's part. While it doesn't hit the mark of previous Ferrell/McKay success story (Anchorman), their chemistry works its low-brow magic to provide a sense of fun much needed in wannabe blockbusters.