Buddy Up

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg make a dynamic duo

“Will Ferrell is back and Mark Wahlberg’s got him” could be the tagline for the amiably goofy buddy-cop bromance The Other Guys by frequent Ferrell helmer Adam McKay (Talladega Nights, Anchorman, Step Brothers). Ferrell and Wahlberg play a pair of temperamentally mismatched NYPD doofuses who finally get the chance to prove themselves when the top dogs in their department (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson) get temporarily sidelined. Because the movie ultimately devolves into the very thing it’s poking fun at -- ’80s super-cop action flicks like the Lethal Weapon franchise, complete with explosions and car chases galore -- it’s not as satisfying as previous, more improv-friendly Ferrell-McKay collaborations. Still, the über-intense Wahlberg displays an agreeable knack for mocking his own patented alpha-male image (he’s basically playing Ferrell’s straight man here), and the first half consistently delivers more big laughs than just about any studio comedy this season. The boilerplate plot -- in which the dependably wry Steve Coogan plays a crooked Wall Street bigwig -- at least has the benefit of being topical. And for those not up to speed on the current financial crunch, there’s an economics tutorial delivered over the end credits that just might be the funniest thing in the whole movie.
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