How many buddy cop movies does a year need?
It seems the answer is two: a good one – that’d be today’s feature, The Other Guys, which, I know, came out last week – and a bad one (last February’s similarly themed Cop Out, which, alright, was kinda OK).
Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg (in his first bona fide comedic turn ever) star as Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz, a couple of desk-jockey NYPD detectives, the saddest of perennials living under the shadow of the department’s superstars (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson).
Det. Gamble is a meticulous forensic accountant more interested in paperwork than hitting the streets, while tougher-guy Det. Hoitz is the man in blue New Yorkers know as “the guy who shot Derek Jeter” during an infamous and most unfortunate run-in that ended up costing the Yankees the season (“he shoulda shot A-Rod!” someone in Hoitz’s support group of cops that have shot their firearms in the line of duty says).
The two are known at work as the fallas of the title, the guys who never blossomed and do the paperwork of those who did.
When an opportunity arises for Gamble and Hoitz to step up – they have to find, arrest, then protect David Ershon (Steven Coogan), a shady tycoon, all because Gamble has discovered some unpermitted scaffolding on one of Ershon’s properties or som’in’ silly like that – things don’t quite go as planned.
Will the two save the day?
Well, whaddya think....
Will they do so in the most hilarious of ways (I mean, I had tears running down my cheek, and my abs got quite a work-out, at one point). You can bet on it.
I really enjoyed The Other Guys, a late-summer comedy co-written by director Adam McKay and Chris Henchy (who is married to Brooke Shields, has worked on HBO’s Entourage, and written for that show and TV’s Spin City). The humor is non-stop thanks to a not-necessarily-taut-but-effective script that’s peppered with Arrested Development-style take-aways, not to mention a couple of personality-rich characters that are tremdous fun.
Ferrell is a like-him-or-hate-him kinda personality, and this movie totally puts the guy square in the Like Him side of things. His Gamble is a ridikolous throwback of sorts, doesn’t realize his wife played by Eva Mendes is a total stunner, and has a fantastic backstory as a pimp. Hello, belly laughs!
And Wahlberg, as his straight man, is, well...he combines bravado with vulnerability (his Hoitz is a “peacock” that needs to be allowed “to fly”) to great effect.
These two may be The Other Guys, but they are a winning pair at that, alright.
My Rating ***1/2
Photo: Sony Pictures.