The Other Guys Adam McKay

The Other Guys Adam McKay
On the way to The Other Guys, I was convinced it would be the death-knell for the successful Adam Mckay/Will Ferrell partnership. It seemed time for them to phone one in, relying too heavily on all that glossy action promoted in the trailer.

The two have worked together since McKay wrote those brilliant Neil Diamond Storyteller sketches for Ferrell on SNL. They're both behind FunnyorDie.com and the popular sketches starring McKay's daughter Pearl.

This wouldn't be, say, Love Guru bad, but perhaps the beginning of a slow decline. The rock-steady revenue the two have generated since 2004's Anchorman couldn't last forever. Adding the Rock and Mark Wahlberg reeked of desperate stunt casting.

Sometimes a preconceived notion is dead wrong. McKay and Ferrell are fresher than ever, using the battered narrative bones of cop-buddy-action as a loose foundation for nothing but snappy comic gold. Ferrell is typically idiotic/arrogant/vulnerable as a squirrelly cop with a dark past (the film's only original song is "Pimps Don't Cry").

Wahlberg is an alpha-male NYC cop low on the totem pole because he shot Derek Jeter before Game 7 of the World Series. The plot takes a relevant stab at the Securities Exchange Commission and Wall Street greed. The action sequences are stylishly set to excellent music like the White Stripes' "Icky Thump." The major points, however, are scored by wild improvisations, lengthy tangents and the erratic bursts of bizarre nonsense Ferrell has built a career upon.

McKay (who taught improv in Chicago) is a master at hustling side-splitting takes out of entities as disparate as Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Rob Riggle, Eva Mendes and even an upstart Damon Wayans Jr. I remember the days when Damon Wayans Sr. played the lone black cop in action comedies. I feel old. (Sony)