Buddy cop films have been among the most popular and successful genres for decades (Dragnet, Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys). In these types of films, two cops with distinctly different personalities are partnered-up and forced to overcome their differences, resulting in the formation of a triumphant bromance and the eventual conquest of criminal organizations. The Other Guys takes this formula and stretches it to its furthest extent, culminating in an awkwardly hilarious and in some places, baffling parody of the genre. The film, directed by Adam McKay, kicks off with an over-the-top car chase involving P.K. Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Christopher Danson (Dwayne Johnson) — superstar detectives in New York City. After the heroes are celebrated for their epic, yet vastly destructive recent exploits, they return to the precinct office. Enter partnered detectives Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) and Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell).
As Highsmith and Danson further collect accolades from their colleagues, including Gamble, it becomes obvious Hoitz and Gamble are at the rock bottom of the detective food chain. Gamble is conservative, naive and completely disinterested in any sort of excitement, completely content with pushing papers. Hoitz, in contrast, is a hot-headed, ambitious and unmindful cop whose poor judgment landed him in the desk across from Gamble, whom he initially and periodically throughout the film, despises.
In what is probably the strangest and most dumbfounding scene in the film, Highsmith and Danson “retire” from their booming detective careers after they “fall” far from grace. Their absence creates a vacuum in the department that two sophomoric detectives, as well as Hoitz, are eager to fill. Unfortunately for Hoitz, his partner, Gamble, is completely uninterested. Hoitz resorts to very convincing means to get Gamble to come along after a call comes in on the radio.
After Gamble arrests David Ershon (Steve Coogan), a sleezy, corrupt businessman, for a completely ridiculous crime, he and Hoitz get caught up in a vast Ponzi scheme that neither seem remotely competent enough to solve.
For an end-of-summer film, The Other Guys is a great comedy and worth seeing. There are several unique and startling scenes that caught me off guard and left me feeling puzzled, but in a refreshing way.
The acting of Wahlberg in The Other Guys is brilliant, with aggressively eccentric character quirks similar to his role in the 2004 film I Heart Huckabees. Ferrell also performs well with his straight-faced ridiculous dialogue being as hilarious and effective as ever. The two actors mesh well together lending to a film that is consistently funny throughout.
Director: Adam McKay
Box office release: Aug. 6
Genre: action, comedy
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Eva Mendes, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr.
Star count: Four