- Released Internationally on 06/08/10
- Released in Malta by KRS on 22/09/10
Preview (first published 01/09/10 in VIDA magazine)
In a nutshell
Yet another buddy-cop movie, but this time coloured with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's particular type of humour.
Why we're hyped
Together, comedian Will Ferrell and writer/director Adam McKay have made many of us laugh (and probably just as many roll their eyes) with the comedies Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and the recent Step Brothers. If you find Ferrell nauseating, you might as well skip to the next film preview now. But if he tickles your funny bone, this might be the first decent live-action comedy this summer.
Who's in it?
Every buddy-cop movie needs two antagonistic stars, and the man patiently accompanying Detective Gamble (Ferrell) is Mark Wahlberg as Detective Hoitz, who was lumped with Gamble after a tragic shooting incident. The two minor-league detectives live in awe of the city's star police duo (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson), but they are thrust into the limelight when they least expect it. Michael Keaton and Eva Mendes also star.
The film opens with a feast of gunfire and car wreckage, as two veteran cops chase an alleged criminal across the busy daytime streets of New York. The scene sets the mood nicely – nobody takes anything seriously, the action is big and loud, and nearly every cop movie cliché is brought out for a beating. That's more or less the recipe that is kept cooking throughout the film, and for most of the running time it manages to remain fresh. Jackson and Johnson's extended cameo also establishes the huge difference between their status in the police department, and that of the two minnows who live in their shadow.
The other guys
Mark Wahlberg (Boogie Nights, Three Kings) is not at his desk out of choice. He craves the action on the streets, and curses his past luck and his present partner. As detective Hoitz, he's all enthusiasm but no delivery, and he tackles the part well, in a sort of skewered version of his own role from The Departed. Will Ferrell seems to be having more fun, and is perfect for his role as Detective Gamble - a nerdy, wholesome forensic accountant who is the biggest fan of the heroic cops, but feels his contribution at the desk is just as important. He is hilarious to watch, as always, and his inept manner makes it all the funnier when he actually gets things done.
Various police film staple themes are thrashed and ridiculed at length, and most running gags don't outstay their welcome. One which falls slightly flat however is the issue of Gamble's wife. Eva Mendes is down to earth but still quite astronomically hot as Gamble's wife, Sheila, and she seems to be head over heels in love with him, to the amazement of Hoitz. The marriage sub-plot wears a bit thin however, and Mendes' role is revisited unnecessarily. It's still fun to watch Ferrell with her, at least.
Your mood might affect how you savour this film. It has lots of laughs, but many of them are of the silly variety, so don't expect to be rolling in the aisles too often. It's still enough to keep a smile on everyone's face, however, and coupled with all the action it constitutes some accomplished entertainment. The complex stock market plot might confuse you as it did the other guys, but that's hardly the focus here. Funnier than most other films we've had this summer, but nothing too memorable.