COMEDY; 1hr 47min
STARRING: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan
Tough guise: from left, Wahlberg and Ferrell
In the NYPD detective peck system, partners Allen Gamble (Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg) are the lowliest of chooks. Gamble is an accountant pen-pusher while the bellicose Hoitz is a departmental disgrace after an inadvertent shooting. They’re despised by their co-workers, chief among them Keaton as the over-it captain, which Gamble does his best to bear. But with the precinct’s reigning heroes (Jackson and Johnson, whooping it up) abruptly off the scene, Hoitz has his eye on their No. 1 spot. He and Gamble might just get it, too, if they can get their mismatched act together in the collaring of a slippery financier (Coogan).
Director and co-writer Adam McKay (Step Brothers) deserves the equivalent of a comedic gold medal for the casting of this one: Ferrell is nerd-perfect as a gasbag with an impossibly hot wife (Mendes) while a seething Wahlberg all but vibrates with outrage as the sidekick klutzburger that Gamble had to have. The two work every crazy nuance of the crack-up screenplay, which has just enough substance to sustain its action but not too much to weigh the souffle down. That would never do.