NYPD desk-jockey Allen Gamble is a milquetoast variant of Will Ferrell's typical buffoonish man-child, sans the conflated pomposity and loutishness. As his hothead partner Terry Hoitz, Mark Wahlberg riffs on his Oscar-nominated cop role from The Departed
. Together, they overcome relative ineptitude, Terry's anger management issues, and the stereotypical irascible police captain (Michael Keaton) to crack an elaborate white-collar caper hatched by Wall Street jillionaire David Ershon (Steve Googan). Director and longtime Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay knows how to strike the right absurdist chord, blending a panoply of explosions and car crashes with scenes like an extended monologue in which Allen explains why tuna would win a war against lions (it's as funny as it sounds). The laffs wane toward the end, devolving into a series of callbacks to earlier gags. But, mindless comedy is rarely this knowing. As a clever blend of parody and surrealism, this is the buddy-cop spoof that Cop Out
wanted to be.