The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Buddy cops vs. buddy cops: Can 'The Other Guys' outdo 'Cop Out'?

April 9, 2010 |  4:26 pm

When I was talking with Kevin Smith about "Cop Out," the Bruce Willis-Tracy Morgan buddy-cop action comedy that stumbled at the box office when it arrived at theaters in late February, I remember him telling me that before he came on board the picture, it had been slated to star Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell as the mismatched, desk-bound, movie-referencing New York City cops who end up bumbling and stumbling their way into action heroics. Wahlberg and Ferrell had some sort of creative differences with Warner Bros., leading to their exit from the picture.

But now, as you can tell from this new trailer (see below), Wahlberg and Ferrell have ended up in Sony's "The Other Guys," due out this August, where they play (ahem) a pair of mismatched, desk-bound, movie-referencing New York City cops who end up bumbling and stumbling their way into action heroics. That's not to say that the trailer isn't fun. I'm a sucker for buddy pictures and Ferrell and Wahlberg seem to have that special kind of yin and yang that the great buddy teams need to possess, whether it was Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte, who set the bar formidably high in "48 Hrs." or Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro, who may have even nudged the bar a little higher in "Midnight Run."

The trailer has a couple of great ba-bing wisecrack comebacks. When the duo go careening through a chase scene (in Ferrell's geeky red Prius, though I see no sign of any timely "what, no brakes" joke), Wahlberg, hanging on for dear life in the passenger seat, says "Where'd you learn to drive like that?" Ferrell hollers back: "Grand Theft Auto!"

If I were Sony, I might be a wee bit worried, since judging by the trailer, the movie looks awfully similar to "Cop Out," which only scraped together $44 million in its U.S. theatrical run, barely more than it cost to make the film. In the wake of "Cop Out," and some equally tired buddy pictures before it, you have to wonder if the comedy genre is running on fumes, having been mined pretty thoroughly by virtually every screenwriter team on the planet. I was thinking of compiling an all-time buddy comedy Top 10, so if anyone has any suggestions, fire away.

Meanwhile, take a look at the trailer and see if "The Other Guys" passes the freshness test:


Photo of Mark Wahlberg (left) and Will Ferrell in "The Other Guys" from Sony