After obligatory helicopter views of New York's skyline open Adam McKay's The Other Guys, we're introduced to Danson and Highsmith (Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson), a duo of unflappable supercops who keep the city exciting, if not safe, with law enforcement by the Michael Bay book. The Other Guys aren't them. This is the fourth feature collaboration of McKay and Will Ferrell, who make baggy improvisational comedies about utter boobs (Anchorman's Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights' Ricky Bobby) like Detectives Allen Gamble (Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg). Gamble is an emasculated Prius owner transferred from forensic accounting. Loose-cannon Hoitz seems to have been partnered with Gamble as punishment—he's been the departmental black sheep since a humiliating incident that earned him the nickname "Yankee Clipper." Laying out its premise, The Other Guys is loose and funny. But as it progresses, the leads are given little to do but trade one-liners while treading the waters of an increasingly choppy plot. Gamble and Hoitz catch the scent of something big during a routine pickup of a Wall Street hustler (Steve Coogan), and, following the clues, The Other Guys turns more hectic than antic. Somebody didn't pack enough comedy for this long trip, and if there were a computer program that automatically generates generic action scenes after you punch in participating actors' names—and there may well be!—the product would look like The Other Guys' shoot-'em-ups.
Mismatched partners Ferrell and Wahlberg.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., Aug. 6. Rated PG-13. 108 minutes.