Continuing the trend of placing Ferrell alongside an unlikely counterpart, 2010’s “The Other Guys” stuck him opposite Mark Wahlberg, a star who, up until this point, was predominately known for serious roles. The pairing proved to be a hit, with Ferrell’s innocently ridiculous office cop, Allen Gamble, forced to face the action head-on alongside Wahlberg’s action-lover, Terry Hoitz. Together, they have a whale of a time sending up the buddy cop genre as they work to stop a white-collar criminal played by Steve Coogan.
While Ferrell has been paired with many actors throughout his career, “The Other Guys” has the added benefit of director Adam McKay, a filmmaker whose presence, control, and influence shouldn’t go unnoticed. In the wake of adlib-heavy hits like “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” it seemed Hollywood thought it could cast Ferrell in anything and strike comedy gold. Unfortunately, 2018’s “Holmes & Watson” proved there was more to the formula than that — particularly the need for someone like McKay to structure the chaos.
“The Other Guys” also marks McKay’s first steps into more sociopolitical storytelling, using a broad Will Ferrell-fronted comedy to shine a light on the crimes of the elite. McKay’s next movie was “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” but since then, he hasn’t felt the need to return to his goofy roots.