The Other Guys

15

For years now, TV has been the home for buddy cop duos: Starsky & Hutch, Bodie & Doyle (The Professionals), Crockett & Tubbs (Miami Vice), to name but three. Itís amazing to think then that fewer spring to mind for film. Despite bagfuls of buddy cop films, trying to remember the characters is less easy; sure thereís Turner & Hooch, but as half of that duo was a French Mastiff (thatís right, the one that wasnít Tom Hanks in case youíre still a bit confused) he doesnít really count.

Sadly the names Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) are unlikely to stick in the minds of audiences for any great length of time; their approach to law however has a crime-fighting chance of living long in the memory.

Although theyíre partners, Gamble and Hoitz are very much the odd cop couple. They donít have the same sized balls as their peers Danson (Dwayne Johnson) and Highsmith (Samuel L Jackson); nor the same kind of banter as Martin (Rob Riggle) and Fosse (Damon Wayans Jr). Gamble is happy to be a desk jockey, whilst Hoitz is eager to get out there on the beat.

When the department finds its numbers suddenly and surprisingly diminished, the oddball team are called upon to take to the streets and tackle crime.

Gamble sinks his teeth into a seemingly lightweight case whereby multi-billionaire David Ershon (Steve Coogan) has racked up a number of scaffolding permit violations. Despite a lack of interest in it, Hoitz backs up his partnerís decision to delve a little deeper. Before they know it, the pair are knee-deep in hardcore criminal activities; not only do they find themselves with their gloves off, but their guns out too Ė even if one of them is made of wood.

boom - The Other Guys review image
Oh man, I didn't see that before. Subway have a 'twofor' deal on over there.

The casting of Ferrell and Wahlberg as a comic pairing is certainly a curious one; after all, Wahlberg isnít really known for his comic timing (thinking about it, itís unsure what heís really known for, other than being that rapper Marky Mark who went on to do some acting and stuff). But credit where itís due, as director Adam McKay got the casting spot on.

You expect someone of Ferrellís comic ability to be funny Ė even if audiences are often let down Ė but here he delivers the goods and the laughs. This is easily Ferrellís best flick since Anchorman. Gamble is essentially the straightest of the pair in an unusual comedy duo made up of straight men Ė meaning two Hardys together as opposed to two heterosexuals. But despite neither of them being Laurel, the laughs come thick and thick. Yes Ferrell is so in the zone it hurts, but Wahlberg is a true revelation; for the first time on screen he doesnít take himself at all seriously, and because of that a real talent for comic acting emerges. Together, they make a formidable double act.

It would be all too easy to get swept up in just this pairís performance, but that would be doing a disservice to a strong supporting cast, that not only includes the likes of L Jackson, Johnson and Coogan, but also Michael Keaton and Eva Mendes.

And although the script gets muddled on the odd occasion, McKay directs the whole piece with genuine, assured flair; there are simply some shots in this film that have no right to be there, and yet give it a type of class it almost doesnít deserve.

If that wasnít enough, itís brimming with small touches that help solidify the whole thing as superior buddy flick material: Ice Tís narration (the rapper started the band Body Count that released the notorious single ĎCop Killerí); the ĎPimps Donít Cryí track as sung by Mendes; and the regular nods to a band with lots of TLC. And plenty more on top of that.

If nothing else, itís great to see Ferrell once again hit his humorous stride, as well as bring Wahlberg along for the enjoyable ride.

This is destined to be a comedy classic, with a joke rate so high there should be a law against it Ė and if anyone should be the arresting officers it should definitely be, now what are their names again? No not those guys, you know, The Other Guys...

four out of five