The Other Guys delivers yet another rude, crude, and over-the-top offering from director Adam McKay, who attempts to piece together a pedestrian storyline with sophomoric humor and cheap laughs.
New York City detectives Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) are both working desk jobs, the former because he desires the safety and security that come with the position, the latter because he accidentally shot New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. While Gamble enjoys writing up paperwork for the department's resident super-cop action stars, P. K. Highsmith and Christopher Danson (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson), Hoitz is eager to get back on the street. He gets his chance when Gamble's seemingly routine investigation of a capitalist's failure to secure scaffolding permits uncovers a massive Ponzi scheme with billions of dollars and several lives at stake.
On its face, this setup is at least mildly interesting. Unfortunately, McKay appears most interested in lengthy, moronic attempts at humor that suffocate any chance this film has at establishing any sort of rhythm or flow. No one can run a joke into the ground like Adam McKay, and the more idiotic or puerile the joke, the less likely he is to let it go.
All that being said, The Other Guys (rated PG-13) does earn some laughs. The dough-faced, pudgy Gamble's uncanny ability to attract beautiful women and his nonchalant attitude toward this gift-he refers to his lovely wife Sheila (Eva Mendes) as his "ball and chain"-mystifies his partner Hoitz. And Highsmith and Danson's cavalier, testosterone-fueled antics yield their fair share of disbelieving chuckles. Action fans will appreciate some of the well-choreographed stunts in this film.
Despite the generally weak material Ferrell, Wahlberg, and company are working with, give them credit for embracing their roles with gusto. They genuinely appear to be enjoying themselves, which is probably more than can be said about their audience.
-Michael Leaser is editor of FilmGrace and an associate of The Clapham Group