Will Ferrell is an admirable actor, and what I particularly admire about him is his fearlessness. Sometimes he plays a button down guy as in Stranger Than Fiction, who breaks out of his everyday character and finds true love in the process, and sometimes he is just an over the top alpha male as in Talladega Nights - The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Unrated Widescreen Edition)or a lovable jerk as in Anchor Man, and let's not forget the random acts of unnecessary nudity as in Old School.
Mark Wahlberg appears to be getting better and better. Shooter is perhaps my favorite. In recent movies, I think he has vastly expanded his range as an actor. In The Departed he was a typical alpha male police detective, yet in The Lovely Bones he offered a very delicately nuanced portrayal of a grieving father.
When you put these two guys together on screen in this movie you have movie magic, because The Other Guys manages to accomplish what other comedies do not, which is to be funny without even trying.
A large part of the credit has to go not only to the actors, but also to the writers. In Gamble and Hoitz they play two cops who have fallen from grace and end up being partnered together.
As you might expect we learn more about them as we go along. Hoitz (Wahlberg) hates Gamble, and has rage management issues, and occasionally goes off at Gamble over the fact that he just does not like him. Everything he does is annoying. A particularly funny bit is the Lion Tuna metaphor, which had me clutching my sides.
The desk pop, faceback, meeting Gamble's hot wife played by Eva Mendez, channeling the inner pimp, the Prius, the coked up crime scene, wooden gun, every situation is hilarious, but also very well paced. We are allowed to recover a little before the next situation happens.
Perhaps the revelation in this movie is Wahlberg, outside of his usual genre, showing his funny side, and Ferrell shows that he can be funny even playing a character who is an introvert who would sit behind the desk than hit the streets, funny without even trying.
Both of these fallen cops accidentally stumble onto a major fraud, they get heat from above, they persist, deepening the fall from grace. We also have brief performances from Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Samuel L Jackson, and two words from Brooke Shields.
Inevitably, perhaps one must compare with another recent cop comedy Cop Out. Let's just say that this movie is incomparably better, and about the best comedy I have seen in almost a year. I hope this was helpful.