The Other Guys
Wouldn’t everyone rather see these two be the leads?

Theatrical Release Date: 08/06/2010
Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes, Steve Coogan, Rob Riggle, Damon Wayans Jr.

The last time I checked, it was 2010 (thanks calendar!). However, if it were say … 2008 … then maybe pairing Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell in an action comedy would be the film event of the summer. Since then, we’ve had “The Happening” and “Land of the Lost” (and a few other doozies as well). That kind of betrayal isn’t easily repaired.

However, as unbelievable as it may sound, “The Other Guys” is a good first step. In the film, Wahlberg and Ferrell play a couple of homicide detectives languishing underneath paperwork and support duties while other cops (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson) get all the fame and glory. Circumstances thrust our unlikely heroes into the limelight and they rely on some unconventional techniques and partnering skills to solve a big case.

That case revolves around a Wall Street wiz (Steve Coogan, who doesn’t get nearly enough to do) losing billions of dollars and an attempt to cover it all up. It’s a direct reference to the economic collapse we’ve seen in America over the last few years and while I’m all for a political statement in film, I’m not so sure a Will Ferrell comedy is the place to do it. The end credits even feature a straight documentary-like rundown of the failures in the economic sector and where all that bailout money went … all before a pitiful outtake that serves as a “reward” for those who stayed through it all.

Corporate commentary aside, the big sticking point (aside from the need for more Johnson and Jackson) is that the story is clearly the last thing McKay and company are concerned with. While I laughed fairly often and it’s never hard to watch Eva Mendes do anything she wants, it was almost as if they had a 3×5 card with the plot bullet points and just shot the film with them in mind.

The chemistry between “the other guys” works pretty well. It’s the standard odd couple routine but they’re so diametrically opposed, personality wise, that seeing Wahlberg act silly and Ferrell act tough makes up for the standard buddy cop scenarios. Unfortunately, the attempt to have another set of cops also looking to be the hot shots (Rob Riggle and Damon Wayans Jr.) fails miserably, as they’re not given enough towards the end of the film to make that rivalry memorable.

Still, while it’s not the funniest film of the year, audiences finally have a non-animated summer comedy worth the price of admission. A 3.5 out of 5, “The Other Guys” helps to erase some of bad films foisted on us by its leads in recent years but leaves me hoping for a prequel flick with The Rock and Shaft more than a sequel involving Marky Mark and Ricky Bobby.