Activision needed some high-impact firepower to tout its downloadable Black Ops 2: Uprising content, which is set for release next week on Xbox 360. Two riotous "replacers" answered the Call of Duty. Veteran movie tough guy Peter Stormare reprises his role as a nattily attired, ludicrously intense dude who substitutes for average Joes in their daily lives so they'll have more time to play the massively popular game. Stormare, just as insanely on edge as he was in his January debut, is joined by equally well-dressed, righteously kick-ass sidekick J.B. Smoove, aka actor-comedian Jerry Brooks.
The pitchmen wring every drop of humor from absurd "replacement" situations in this new three-minute clip from 72andSunny. They're both tightly wound, yet handle pressure differently. Stormare speaks softly and with great deliberation; it seems like his face might crack open from the tension building up inside. His barely repressed murderousness bubbles up as he tells a slow-choosing customer to "Pick a Sammmich" when he and Smoove substitute for counter help at an oddly named fast-food joint. (Note how he threateningly brandishes a knife, just as McDonald's crew members do in real life if you don't order fast enough.)
Smoove, conversely, lets it all hang out, and his loud, rapid-fire bursts of dialogue ricochet through the pair's adventures. Replacing an attorney, he delivers his closing argument: "Is my client guilty? Probably. Who cares?" When Stormare chides him from the defense table ("You're doing it wrong"), Smoove explodes, "I'm doin' it the way I'm gonna do it, OK? Let me do this, OK? … I'm in my zone right now! Did he do it? I DON'T KNOW!" He's also great as a happy-happy, hyperactive fill-in TV weatherman, emoting to the max as he warns, "There's a 45 percent chance of swamp ass today, New Orleans. Be careful out there!"
Sure, it's basically just a sendup of the familiar buddy-cop/action-flick formula—there's even a "Bad Cop, Bad Cop" bit where both actors smash every prop in an interrogation room. But these two elevate the material, which is superior to start with, to a stratospheric level. They share a rare chemistry, the kind attained by John Hodgman and Justin Long in Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign, or James Garner and Mariette Hartley in Polaroid commercials of yore—for those of a certain age who, like myself, have to bump up the point size to read these advertising reviews. Stormare, Smoove—what are you waiting for? Guys, for the love of God, replace me!