Anybody familiar with Anchorman knows how Will Ferrell and Adam McKay work: keep the premise simple, make the rest up along the way.
Those familiar with Talladega Nights know it’s difficult to recapture such organised chaos.
The Other Guys even comes with an in-built obstacle, its deconstruction of cop genre clichés adding little that Hot Fuzz didn’t already do (save the Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson casting coup).
Fortunately, McKay’s masterstroke is to pair Ferrell’s pen-pusher with hot-headed screw-up Mark Wahlberg. Demented vs deadpan, these mismatched archetypes are set on a routine trajectory involving Steve Coogan’s criminal. But that’s only the plot.
What’s important are McKay’s comedic curveballs: Eva Mendes as Ferrell’s ‘plain’ wife and the endless indignities piled upon Ferrell’s Prius.
In hi-def, Wahlberg often seems seconds away from corpsing during Ferrell’s riffs. But where so many Hollywood comedies coldly parcel out the gags, this possesses that rare quality: charm.
McKay’s strip-mining methods churn up hours of footage, and the best (Wahlberg wig-out) make the Blu-ray’s extended cut. The rest (obligatory Paris Hilton cameo alert) don’t.
No wonder McKay and Ferrell took a break by passing commentary duties to their mothers, but the uneventful ‘momumentary’ proves funnier in theory than in practice.
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