There are probably three key reasons why I predict this action comedy will be a hit and live up to its potential – the pairing of what's probably deserving of a movie of its own with Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson as the toughest, meanest, no nonsense cops in New York City whose careers are nothing but laden with action, the main focus on the quirky pairing of Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell as complete opposites to their peer's partnership and crime-busting success rate, and Eva Mendes herself for her firm and perky you-know-whats, spouting lines seen in the trailer that so far has never failed to elicit laughter.
While the film may be hidden under the guise of the classic cops and robbers tale, it is Adam McKay and Chris Henchy's story that made it stand out, because of its relevance and commentary of today's real world woes. Like how the action sequences involving the old school cops become ultra exaggerated and complete with what I'd like to think as deliberate B-grade film special effects, if not to keep costs down in filming along the busy streets of a major metropolitan city, it accentuates how the old ways of doing things will not work, where heroes and villains are no longer clearly and cleanly defined. Aiming squarely at the financial crisis where problems or opportunity for problems stem from financial accounts and affects a lot more people across the board, the skill sets required to solve a crime go beyond just normal policing work.
So with the development of more savvy crooks comes the need for an appropriate response. Out goes the traditional techniques now seen as dinosaurs, and in comes a new breed of problem solvers where the everyday common man, each steeped in their own skillsets, competencies and diligence for menial work sometimes, play that very important role. This is the story of the unsung heroes, and the other guys who are left with filling the void of new opportunity. And the film's pairing of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as detective partners couldn't add more fun into this definition of embracing change and the differences in others, never to judge anyone, as the adage goes, by the book.
Ferrell plays Allen Gamble, a mild-mannered cop whose background in forensics accounting means he's one suited for a desk role in the force, never ever volunteering for the more glamourous aspects of police work, preferring instead to work behind the scenes hammering out reports. This of course to the irritation of whiny partner Terry Hoitz (played by Wahlberg who hammed up his usual macho alpha-maleness here), who yearns to see action and doing his contribution to clean up the streets, if not for that hilarious career limiting move that had stalled his prospect for promotion. Reporting to Michael Keaton's Captain Gene Mauch who has this penchant for unknowingly quoting TLC, this duo will go through a rather satisfying cliché of getting to know each other, warts and all, before finally accepting their differences en route to cracking a big case.
No sooner than the get go are we treated to the very first action sequence of the film that's so much fun and laughter even that your appetite is whet and leaving you clamouring for more. I for one will put up my hand should there be a feature film based on Sam L. Jackson's and Dwayne Johnson's characters since they're totally over the top, and I suppose as a comedy they nailed their roles and were right on the money with personifying self-importance and arrogance, having little patience for their support team, never hesitating to shoot or belittle them, and it's quite the pity we don't get to see more, as they had to make way for the titular guys to take over, so with that goes some of the fun that came right from the start.
The writers McKay and Henchy have developed extremely likeable caricatures, which every cast member especially Ferrell and Wahlberg delivering with a complete repertoire of slapstick and with with aplomb. Between the two leads there are occasional moments where you'll find that they irritate, especially when Wahlberg turns all angry and whiny at the same time, with Ferrell too having to seem that he's been reigned in to play such a restrained character, with moments where the glint in the eye to explode just shows, then dissipates. Still, probably the best scene here were the three way dynamics which included Eva Mendes, some of which you'll already have seen in the trailers.
Adam McKay had directed a fair bit of Will Ferrell comedies such as Step Brothers and Talladega Nights amongst others with varying degrees of success where the comedy's more hit than miss, but The Other Guys really went for that rip-roaring laugh a minute offering which lived up to its potential. A definite contender in my shortlist for favourite films of this year as it's been some time since I laughed so hard during a comedy, one that had its message not lost in laughter. Don't leave the cinema just yet when the end credits roll as you'll be taken through a fantastically done animated piece on the financial crisis we face today as well as the absurdity of pay structures, and between the haves and the have nots / other guys, before one final joke cum outtake between Ferrell and Wahlberg.