The Other Guys isn’t really a cop-movie spoof, even though it understands that most Hollywood police flicks are inches away from being comedies themselves (a giddily overblown prologue featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson makes this clear). If anything, this is a character study about two extremely odd men who happen to be law-enforcement partners. Mark Wahlberg plays Terry Hoitz, an alpha male cop who has been demoted after making a mistake on the beat and is now paired with Will Ferrell’s Allen Gamble, a nerdy number cruncher who is content to bust people for failing to obtain scaffolding permits. Allen hums cheerily as he types; Terry has great white shark images as his screen saver. You can see how there might be conflict, including one shouting match over who would win a battle between a pride of lions and a school of tuna. These delirious, hilarious moments aren’t scenes as much as extended non sequiturs – the kind that dominate the best collaborations of Ferrell and director Adam McKay (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers). On the surface, little of The Other Guys makes sense, but who needs a coherent story when you can be set adrift on comic bliss?
Wooderson in space