Director: Adam McKay Release date: 02/09/10 Link: IMDB Will Ferrell can sure be a polarizing figure when it comes to comedy. It’s not like I’ve taken a poll so I don’t have any hard data to back up my claim, but from everything I’ve heard and read over the years, people’s opinions on the 'Saturday Night Live' alum tend to be mixed. There is no doubt in my mind that a large number of people find Ferrell’s buffoonish antics hilarious, but there also appears to be just as many who have either grown tired of his act or never liked it in the first place. Which side of the fence am I on? I usually fall on the side of the viewers who can’t wait to see what Ferrell has next up his sleeve, however, I freely concede if he is not surrounded by the right talent his films can leave a bad taste in your mouth. But for whatever reason, whenever he teams up with director Adam McKay — they previously made Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Step Brothers — the results are ridiculously funny. It seems like McKay is always able to bring out the best in Ferrell, and their latest collaboration, the mismatched-buddy cop comedy, The Other Guys, is thankfully more of the same. But what makes Ferrell’s performance in The Other Guys different from any of his other films with McKay is his character of NYPD pencil pusher Allen Gamble starts off a little bit more calm and subdued. By going this direction, Ferrell actually gets to build up his character’s craziness, as opposed to his usual shtick of being loud and brazen from the moment the opening credits hit the screen. It’s like waiting for a ticking time bomb to explode, and it is refreshing to see Ferrell can successfully tackle a slightly different role. (Believe it or not, he doesn’t run around in his underwear in this one.) Not every cop wants to be a hero, and Allen Gamble can definitely be added to that group. Instead of roaming the streets of New York City to fight crime, Allen, a forensic accountant, is more content with staying at the office and filling out paperwork. Despite Allen’s happiness, his attitude toward his job gets the ire of his hot-headed partner, Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), who has been relegated to desk duty because of an accidental shooting at Yankee Stadium before Game 7 of the World Series. The often-frustrated Terry was in line to become one of the best cops New York has ever seen, but now he has to stay on the sidelines and watch his fellow detectives, Christopher Danson (Dwayne Johnson) and P.K. Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson), receive all the glory and fame. But when something unfortunate happens to Danson and Highsmith, Allen and Terry are given the opportunity to uncover a case that involves a shady banker (Steve Coogan, playing a British version of Bernie Madoff) who has embezzled billions of dollars from several powerful associates. Ferrell and Wahlberg might seem like an unlikely duo to headline a comedy, but the reason The Other Guys ends up working so well is because their two drastically different styles of acting complement each other perfectly. Wahlberg, who gives a tongue-in-cheek nod to his Oscar-nominated role in The Departed, can actually be quite funny when given the chance, and The Other Guys really excels whenever he tries to put the doe-eyed and earnest Allen in his place. (Their argument that revolves around tuna hunting lions is especially amusing.) In addition, the movie greatly benefits from some rather humorous supporting performances, particularly from Eva Mendes as Allen’s drop-dead gorgeous wife, Michael Keaton as Allen and Terry’s boss and the aforementioned Johnson and Jackson. (Keaton, whose character also moonlights as a manager at Bed, Bath and Beyond, has a lot of the film’s best lines, some of which include a running joke that refers to a handful of lyrics from the R&B/hip hop group TLC.) And for a director whose specialty is making an audience howl with laughter, McKay is surprisingly competent at shooting stimulating action scenes. Even though these sequences are played for laughs and poke fun at serious action films (Our heroes get showered by bullets from their foes but always walk away unscathed.), they still have a realistic feel to them, which makes the non-comedic moments easier to swallow. (Jon Brion’s saxophone-filled score, which resembles something you would hear in a 1970s or ’80s police tale, is also a nice touch.) But as much as I have praised The Other Guys, make no mistake, it does have a glaring weak spot: the conventional script from McKay and Chris Henchy (last year’s Land of the Lost). The story more or less just reinvents the wheel, and except for a certain rooftop scene early on in the film, everything unfolds in a relatively predictable way. And although The Other Guys is loaded with hysterically sharp one-liners that you’ll be reciting for months and months on end, not all of the humor works, specifically Allen’s backstory that reveals his dark, younger days as a pimp who went by the name of Gator. But, as the rapper Ice-T says in his song 'Godfather Theme', pimpin’ ain’t easy man. Photobucket