The Other Guys
4/5 MUST must see SEE
dir Adam McKay
scr Adam McKay, Chris Henchy
prd Patrick Crowley, Jimmy Miller
with Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes, Steve Coogan, Ray Stevenson, Samuel L Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr, Rob Riggle, Anne Heche, Bobby Cannavale
release US 6.Aug.10, UK 17.Sep.10
10/US Columbia 1h47
The Other Guys
On the case: Wahlberg and Ferrell

keaton mendes coogan
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
The Other Guys A sharp script sets this fast and furious action comedy apart from other brainless summer movies. And it's played with such deadpan precision that it keeps us laughing from start to finish, even when things get bogged down by the plot.

New York cops Gamble and Hoitz (Ferrell and Wahlberg) have been relegated to unimportant positions by two teams of flashier detectives (Jackson/Johnson and Wayans/Riggle). But when Gamble arrests a millionaire investor (Coogan) for a minor infraction, he and Hoitz are plunged into a murky case involving a ruthless Aussie goon (Stevenson) and bribed city officials. Even their captain (Keaton) tells them to leave it alone, but Gamble can't let go and Hoitz sees this as a chance to stop being the "other guys".

The hilariously over-the-top opening chase (and press conference), with Jackson and Johnson as rock-star cops, is so funny that we wonder if McKay can sustain this for the entire film. What follows is a relentless, riotous barrage of subtle gags, broad nuttiness and inspired action. It's so smartly written and played that a much higher percentage of the jokes hit their target. And things only sag due to the confusing investment scandal at the centre of the story.

Even though we can't quite follow it, or care really, this financial narrative at least adds a layer of relevance to a movie that's already packed with big themes. Mendes' role as Ferrell's improbably hot wife is deeply silly, and yet she manages to grow the character into something both funnier and more interesting than expected. And it's great to see Keaton deploying his considerable comedic skills as this amusing, TLC-quoting cop.

But of course this is a buddy movie, and much of the film's success is due to the central duo's lively chemistry. Ferrell's oddball nerd and Wahlberg's tetchy grouch threaten to become annoying cartoon characters, but both deepen cleverly due to a rapid-fire series of personal revelations that are impeccably played dead straight. And through all of this, McKay finds connections that make the humour increasingly uproarious. By the end, we realise that this is the only blockbuster this summer that we hope will spark a sequel.

cert 12 themes, language, violence, innuendo 24.Aug.10

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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall