Between its ridiculous setup and its hard-to-care-about ending, McDonald still manages to craft an engaging suspense film that -- when you're not scratching your head in puzzlement -- will have you on the edge of your seat.
Twenty-five years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine that Imagine That would see Eddie Murphy and The Beatles coming together to create family entertainment, but I'll be darned if it doesn't work.
What it does have going for it are its lead actors -- Brand and Hill both know exactly how to deliver a punch line -- and a lead character who represents one of the best bits of rock 'n' roll satire since "This Is Spinal Tap."
If there's a prevailing problem with director Richard Loncraine's bit of period fluff, it's that many of the characters encountered along the way are a touch too cartoonish to resonate meaningfully with audiences.
As with most Ferrell projects, there's nothing profound going on in The Other Guys. It's just a bit of good, stupid fun, had at the expense of an uber-formulaic genre that has long been ripe for the spoofing. But it also works.
How do you know when a romantic comedy just isn't working? Key indicators are that your audience doesn't get goose bumps in the inevitable third-act reunion. They don't get misty-eyed. In short, they don't really care.
As clearly calculated and self-consciously cutesy as it is, it's also tender and meaningful stuff -- and far more watchable than other recent attempts to capture the existential angst of adolescence. ("The Art of Getting By.")