By EW Staff
Updated July 01, 2010 at 01:00 PM EDT

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg team up with director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights) for The Other Guys, our pick for summer’s most promising comedy. Though Wahlberg and Ferrell play a pair of mismatched NYC policemen, don’t expect your typical buddy-cop movie. “The buddy-cop movie is, for all intents and purposes, pretty much dead,” McKay says. “There hasn’t been a good one in, what, 20 years?” As on all his movies, McKay encouraged lots of improvisation, and Wahlberg quickly got into it. “I really put myself out there,” he says. “I just kept getting crazier and crazier and crazier. I was waiting for Adam to say, ‘Dude, will you chill the f— out?’ But it never happened. I wouldn’t have been able to do that years ago — I was too self-conscious.” During one of their many verbal sparring matches, Ferrell and Wahlberg’s ad-libbing yielded an increasingly bizarre (and hilarious) monologue about a lion fighting a tuna. “That was so pleasing, because it was a long run, and it just kept working,” Ferrell says. “A lot of comedy directors would have cut it after the first or second laugh. I think that’s one of the things people love — or hate — about our movies: We’ll stick with something for a really long time until it either becomes a source of enjoyment or torture.”

Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by The Dark Knight‘s Christopher Nolan, is summer’s biggest buzz movie. Amazingly, it’s DiCaprio’s first big summer blockbuster. “I don’t really think about whether something’s a summer blockbuster or not,” says the actor, “but I suppose I have had a bit of a reaction to films with themes I’ve seen a million times before or plot points that seem regurgitated. But Inception was so fresh. It has elements of sci-fi, but the sci-fi isn’t something the audience can’t relate to. It has a very powerful emotional through-line. It’s essentially about a man trying to come to terms with his past and resurrect himself through the dreamworld.”

True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgård is the issue’s best actor with bite. The best part of playing a flirtatious vampire on the show? It’s not the chance to pound some plasma, that’s for sure. “The fake blood is sticky and quite nasty,” he says. “[When we finish a scene] they run in with cups.” No, the native Swede says the biggest perk is getting to film the show’s elaborate flashback scenes. “I’d love to see Eric in 17th-century France,” he says. “He’d probably be eating Louis XIV.”

Katy Perry, the best summer gurl, tells us about her huge hit “California Gurls,” her fiancé (Russell Brand), and her crazy music video, which finds her in a whipped cream-squirting bra. “It’s a moment in life to really take in,” she says. “It’s true, I am having a blast.” Don’t miss the singer — and that bra — on her upcoming tour. “I’ll be spraying my fans all over the world next year,” she says. “They’ll be getting a mouthful!”

For more of our best-of-summer picks, including more actors and movies you’ll be talking about, musicians you’ve gotta hear, books you’ve got to read, and the gear and games you need to check out, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands July 2.