The Other Guys

A great running gag is a tricky thing to pull off: get it right and you’re looking at a bottomless well of laughs, get it wrong and you’ve got a predictable, tiresome joke that just won’t die. ‘The Other Guys’ may lack depth, insight, ambition or artistic integrity. But with no less than three successful running gags – one involving four tramps having sex in a cop car – it’s hard to imagine a sane audience complaining.

The other guys are Allen (Will Ferrell) and Terry (Mark Wahlberg). They’re decent cops stuck on desk duty in the shadow of superior officers Danson (Dwayne Johnson) and  Highsmith (Samuel L Jackson). There’s a plot in there somewhere –it’s got something to do with Steve Coogan as a corrupt businessman – but frankly it’s not worth thinking too much about. This is a movie with a single purpose, which it pursues with relentless efficiency and a spectacular rate of success: ‘The Other Guys’ just wants to make you laugh until it hurts.

To this end, writer-director and regular Ferrell  collaborator Adam McKay employs a catalogue of tried-and-tested techniques. There are two solidly drawn, superbly played mismatched heroes (Wahlberg has never been better). There’s the sprawling cast of lunatic suporting characters, notably Michael Keaton’s TLC-quoting police captain. There’s the usual unlikely romantic pairing: Ferrell’s nerdy, obsessive loser is married to an appealingly self-deprecating Eva Mendes. And there’s a wealth of  joyously berserk idiot humour, fusing slapstick and satire, surrealism and stream-of-consciousness improv into what could well prove the funniest movie of the year.

Release details

Release date: Thursday November 11 2010
Duration: 115 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Adam McKay
Screenwriter: Adam McKay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg
Samuel L Jackson
Will Ferrell
Dwayne Johnson
Ray Stevenson
Michael Keaton
Eva Mendes
Anne Heche
Steve Coogan
Paris Hilton
Rob Riggle
Damon Wayans Jr.
Lindsay Sloane