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Just when it seemed like the once-robust buddy-cop action-comedy was going to require a do-not-resuscitate order, along comes Will Ferrell and Adam McKay to show ’em how it’s done.
Having successfully collaborated with director-writer McKay several times in the past, most notably on “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” Ferrell keeps the winning streak intact while drawing out Mark Wahlberg’s untapped funny side in “The Other Guys.”
Although their yin-yang dynamic makes for the comic dream team of the summer, they receive plenty of expert backup from Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes, Steve Coogan, Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson.
The ridiculously entertaining results should result in a sizable haul for the Columbia release, which occupies the same early August slot as 2008’s sleeper hit “The Pineapple Express.”
Not quite New York’s finest, Ferrell and Wahlberg are constantly overlooked Detectives Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz, respectively.
While nerdy Gamble is perfectly content with his forensic-accounting job, intense Hoitz is itching to see real action instead of being left to clean up after stationhouse hotshots P.K. Highsmith (Jackson) and Christopher Danson (Johnson).
Hoitz finally gets his wish when one of Gamble’s paper trails leads them to a big-time crime of Bernie Madoff proportions, much to the continuing headache of precinct chief, Capt. Mauch (a pitch-perfect Keaton), who supplements his tight income by moonlighting as a manager at a Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Nimbly blending comedy and action — with an affectionate slo-mo nod to John Woo — McKay does his best work to date here, and though the picture could have benefited from a tighter edit, there’s no shortage of inspired sequences.
Working from a flexible script he penned with Chris Henchy and evident input from Ferrell, McKay also puts Wahlberg’s trademark intensity to effective use here, especially during a destined-to-be-a-classic sequence in which Ferrell brings him home to meet his “plain” ball and chain, who, much to Wahlberg’s all-consuming incredulity, turns out to be smoking-hot Mendes.
Mendes — who also can be heard cooing the catchy closing theme song, “Pimps Don’t Cry,” with Gnarls Barkley’s Cee-Lo — is gamely appealing, as are all the other guys in “The Other Guys.”
Speaking of the closing, thanks to the implementation of eye-catching graphics and sobering factoids, the film’s end credits crawl is anything but routine, providing unexpectedly enlightening financial food for thought.
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