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Bum's Rush Hour

The Other Guys (2010)

Macall Polay/Columbia Pictures

In the pre-Judd Apatow era, bromance blossomed only in the buddy-cop genre. The rationale must have been that sexual tension in a homosocial environment would seem a lot less gay if these characters could kick some ass. Come to think of it, you could even get away with bestiality in the buddy-cop genre. As you might recall, the dog in “K-9” got jealous and barged in to cause coitus interruptus between James Belushi and his human romantic interest.

These days though, cop buddies no longer need to be such alpha males as Mel Gibson and Danny Glover or Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. In fact, they can be sensitive and impotent just like the losers who populate Mr. Apatow’s universe. “The Other Guys” begins with familiar archetypal police partners played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson, whose heroic histrionics unfortunately don’t get them very far in this particular narrative. In their stead come Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, one as a desk jockey who has never fired his gun and the other as a cop whose claim to infamy is having accidentally shot Derek Jeter.

Director and co-screenwriter Adam McKay could have turned this into some sort of meta critique of the buddy-cop genre the way “Scream” reinvented horror, and perhaps that was his original intent. But “The Other Guys” gets completely sidetracked with its seemingly tacked-on high concept about busting white-collar crimes perpetrated by sinister multinational conglomerates. That tangent never takes off, but Mr. McKay goes so far as devoting the entire end-credit sequence to corroborating it. Meanwhile, the pairing of Messrs. Ferrell and Wahlberg lacks the chemistry requisite for bromantic or law-enforcement partners. The comedic duo concept just doesn’t work when both are playing it straight in every sense of the word.


Opens on Aug. 6 in the United States and on Sept. 2 in Britain.

Directed by Adam McKay; written by Mr. McKay and Chris Henchy; director of photography, Oliver Wood; edited by Brent White; music by Jon Brion; production designer, Clayton Hartley; costumes by Carol Ramsey; produced by Mr. McKay, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Miller and Patrick Crowley; released by Columbia Pictures. Running time: 1 hour 47 minutes. This film is rated PG-13 by M.P.A.A.

WITH: Will Ferrell (Allen Gamble), Mark Wahlberg (Terry Hoitz), Eva Mendes (Sheila), Michael Keaton (Captain Mauch), Steve Coogan (Ershon), Ray Stevenson (Wesley), Samuel L. Jackson (Highsmith), Rob Riggle (Martin), Damon Wayans Jr. (Fosse) and Dwayne Johnson (Danson).


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