2010 – 107mn – 12A Directed by Adam McKay. Starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan.

Adam McKay and Will Ferrell met on Saturday Night Live, collaborated on Anchorman, Step Brothers, and Talladega Nights; and created the cult comedy website FunnyOrDie.com. Their new film, The Other Guys, is in their usual vein of over-the-top silliness. Two mismatched cops – one desk cop (Will Ferrell) and one disgraced street cop (Mark Wahlberg) – have been relegated to paperwork duty. But when the top cops they idolize (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson) are sidelined, they seize the opportunity to step up to the plate and take over their high-profile investigation.

The film was originally titled The B-Team, a title that was dropped for fear audiences might confuse the film with this year’s A-Team adaptation. A riff on 80s buddy comedies, it’s both funnier and more ambitious than other similar spoofs like Cop Out. The cast is absolutely cracking (Michael Keaton, who also featured in Toy Story 3, completing a brilliant career comeback), and Will Ferrell proves again that he’s the best in the world at playing clueless, arrogant, harmless oddballs. Wahlberg cleverly plays everything straight and incredulous, and the comedy works all the better for it. The material is a somewhat mixed bag – as usual there’s nothing much profound going on, and many of the gags fall flat; but the energy and nimbleness of the performers carry it through. There’s also a bunch of action scenes to keep it all loud and interesting, at least until the last half-hour, when it comes apart at the seams, the charm wears off, and the sequences start feeling more like overlong, self-satisfied sketches than believable, satisfying scenes.

3/5 Stars