Writer/director Adam McKay is something of a comedic alchemist in the sense that he can somehow always synthesize pure comic gold from Will Ferrell. Since their salad days at "SNL" they've been jamming out one brilliant big-screen send-up after another, whether it be of local news in "Anchorman," the redneck NASCAR culture of "Talladega Nights," or the dark, stupid heart of the American family in "Step Brothers."
Their latest outing, "The Other Guys," attempts to mine laughs from that most inherently absurd of movie genres, the cop flick, with appropriately explosive results.
"Guys" centers around detectives Allen Gamble (Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), two unlikely partners whose only commonality is the dark traumas of their past. Gamble is the straight-laced one, but to the point of perversity, happily humming along as he burns through miles of paperwork at his safe, tidy desk. Hoitz is the firecracker, the slightly thick hotshot who wants to be where the action is but feels stifled by his partner.
These "other guys" are perpetually shown-up by supercops Danson & Highsmith (Dwayne Johnson & Samuel L. Jackson), whose high-octane heroics have made them the pride of the city. Once New York's finest car-chasing, high-flying, lady-sexing, gun-blasting lethal weapons are out of the picture, the perpetually put-upon Hoitz & Gamble finally get the chance to fly like a peacock. Yes, peacocks don't fly, just go with it.
They inadvertently find themselves in the middle of a case involving corporate fraud that's clearly bigger than the both of them, but they're too small to notice. In their pursuit of corporate dirtbag Sir David Ershon (a hilarious Steve Coogan) they cross paths with Australian, Chechen, AND Nigerian hitmen, a suicidal Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer, several angry ex-girlfriends, and are nearly blown to pieces.
Says Ferrell in his characteristic yell, "How do they walk away in movies without flinching when it explodes behind them? There's no way! I call bulls**t on that!"
McKay peppers many subversive allusions to cop film tropes, right down to the absurdly hot wife (Eva Mendes) and the ball-busting Captain (Michael Keaton), and is smart enough to ask why they don't just use a gate code instead of driving through one. "The Other Guys" can stand firmly alongside other great modern action send-ups like "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" or "Hot Fuzz," and the buddy cop chemistry between Ferrell and Wahlberg gets better on each viewing.
Extras! You can dive into the unrated version's Blu-ray/DVD with guns blazing, and find such features as "We Shouldn't Kiss Chicken," "Mark Wahlberg's Eating Contest Entourage," lots of deleted scenes, and the "Pimps Don't Cry" music video.