Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Samuel L Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Mendes
Director: Adam McKay
The Other Guys takes that tired premise of a buddy-cop movie and turns it on its head. Mark Wahlberg plays a frustrated New York cop, who as a punishment for accidentally shooting a baseball champ, is humiliatingly partnered with Will Ferrell, a mild-mannered desk-bound detective content with handling the department’s paperwork.
Envious of the NYPD’s star cop-duo (played by Samuel L Jackson and Dwayne Johnson), Wahlberg seeks any opportunity to ditch the sidelines and to get into some real action. While investigating a billionaire fraudster’s building permit violation, Wahlberg and his reluctant partner inadvertently find themselves at the centre of a major criminal case. One that involves shootouts, explosions and deadly car-chases. While Wahlberg sees this as an opportunity to gain the respect of his mocking peers, Ferrell would rather just remain behind his desk.
The film starts out on a promising note and is always on solid ground when it’s focusing on the two leads. Some of the early scenes are laugh-out-loud hilarious, like that exchange between Ferrell and Wahlberg about who would win in a fight between a lion and a tuna. There’s another terrific scene in which Ferrell discovers Wahlberg knows ballet, a skill he developed in his childhood, to make fun of wimpy kids.
The laughs come fast and furious in the film’s first act, until the real plot kicks in, which is where the problems start. Once Wahlberg and Ferrell get on the case of Steve Coogan, a tricky British financier they suspect of some serious white-collar crime, the script loses its grip, degenerating into an incomprehensible mess about corporate conspiracy.
Fortunately the very pairing of Wahlberg and Ferrell throws up enough comic moments, including one of my favourite scenes, in which Wahlberg refuses to believe his nerdy partner is married to the red-hot Eva Mendes who he’s constantly dissing.
What could have been just another regular buddy-cop movie is elevated considerably by two fantastic leads. Wahlberg tackles each scene with a straight face, while Ferrell goes for broad laughs. Together, they’re a riot.
I’m going with three out of five for The Other Guys. You won’t remember the last time you laughed this hard!
Rating: 3 / 5
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