When you live in New York City and shoot Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter in the leg, you're going to pay the price.
For NYPD Detective Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), that means being a partner to Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell). This wouldn't be a problem if not for the fact that Gamble is super annoying, and prefers to spend his time ridding the world of serial scaffolding permit violators and typing up other officers' reports than actually doing any serious police work.
When the rock star detectives of the department, played by Samuel L. Jackson and Duane "The Rock" Johnson, miss the bushes on a landing from a 20-story leap, someone has to step up to the plate and keep the streets safe. Or at least run over dead bodies at crime scenes.
Enter "The Other Guys," Hoitz and Gamble.
While Wahlberg rightfully gets as much screen time here as Ferrell, "The Other Guys" is the latter's car to drive, so to speak. Ferrell's man-child act beloved in films like "Anchorman," "Old School" and "Step Brothers" is the reason the majority of the audience will consider shelling out cash to watch this film. Although the man-in-a-boy's-body shtick has worn thin in some of Ferrell's more recent efforts, "The Other Guys" is money well spent for his devoted fans.
The laughs come easy and often here, from one-liners delivered by both of the "Guys." Ferrell's previously mentioned shtick is the same as it's ever been, but this is some good shtick. His deadpan, monotone personality lends itself well to insults, and Wahlberg is full of them. Hoitz, a prime candidate for anger management (You think you wouldn't be a little on edge if all of NYC wanted you dead for costing the Yankees a World Series championship?) rips on everything from Gamble's deskside humming to his urine stream and passing of gas.
As "The Other Guys" plays out over the course of its 100-minute runtime, it tries to develop a plot of sorts as our dimwitted heroes try to uncover a lottery scam involving foreign-sounding bad guys.
All we really need is a reason for Wahlberg and Ferrell to keep at each other's throats. Until, that is, the introduction of Gamble's trophy wife, Sheila (Eva Mendes). Yeah, a character played by Ferrell landing a wife played by Mendes is a stretch. As she tells Hoitz — who asks his partner about 14 times who this woman is, because she surely isn't his wife — he's Episcopalian, she's Catholic. Yeah, that's why they're an odd couple.
One plus of the movie's attempt at a plot is that it does feature some pretty intense action sequences, with lots of explosions and bullets flying.
Maybe it's been a while since you heard The White Stripe's "Icky Thump" blaring while watching a former underwear model (Wahlberg) sliding on his back down a conference room table while spewing bullets in every direction, for example. "The Other Guys" has your back.
All in all, "The Other Guys," despite a stupid premise for a plot, is a pretty darn smart comedy. For the most part, it avoids the easiest, lowest-common-denominator laughs and is quirkily random enough -- what with its repeated references to 1990s R&B supergroup TLC and all -- that it keeps the viewer off-balance in a good way.
And seriously — when was the last time you saw a buddy cop movie where they travel to crime scenes to the tunes of the Australian soft rock group, Little River Band?
Joel Sensenig is "the other news editor" of the Review Times. Well, he's kinda the only one.