There is nothing wrong with over-the-top homage flicks that hone in on a past genre, throw in every cliché and mix in modern elements, poking fun at the bad ones. Even though Cop Out sets out to do these things, it fails miserably. Instead, it is a (supposed) comedy that takes itself far too serious to be any fun.
Bruce Willis (Die Hard) and Tracy Morgan (30 Rock) play Jim and Paul, long-time “buddy” detectives in New York City. On the nine-year anniversary of their partnership, they accidentally stumble into an international drug dealing case that is far too big for this couple of misfits (and should technically fall under the jurisdiction of a federal bureau). Because of their shenanigans with said case, both are suspended for one month without pay – but their professional lives are not the only things being rattled.
The suspension is causing Jim to have to sell his prized baseball card to pay for his daughter’s $48,000 wedding and Paul suspects his wife (Rashida Jones, I Love You, Man) of cheating on him while he has been so overly wrapped-up in work as of late. When Jim sells his card valued around $85-grand, the collector’s shop is robbed by a couple of hooligans who make off with Jim’s yet-to-be-sold card too. Of course, as Jim and Paul go off in search of the stolen baseball card, the moronic thief (Seann William Scott, Role Models) just-so-happens to be connected to the drug dealers – entangling Jim and Paul in the same case they were just suspended for ruining.
Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats) is a far better writer than he is a director, but because his scripts don’t require fantastic direction, his directing suffices. Cop Out is the first film that he has directed, but not written. And being an action flick, it requires a good director that knows how to film action. In this area, Smith fails horribly. Perhaps he knew this or maybe he realized early into filming that the script was absolute trash, because while watching Cop Out it is painfully obvious that Smith wasn’t even trying. And neither were the actors.
Bruce Willis doesn’t do a single noteworthy thing in the whole movie. The expression “phoned it in” perfectly describes his performance. Tracy Morgan at least delivers a few funny lines – and by “a few,” yes, I mean “only three.” Although the dialogue was meant to be taken as funny – even the classic ’80s one-liners – every stale joke fails to get laughs.
The only reason Cop Out gets one star is because of Seann William Scott. Being in the movie for only ten minutes, he easily gives the best performance – and the only memorable one! When Seann William Scott – of all people – is the best thing about your movie, you know you’ve got a problem. (Note: his performance in Role Models was perfect, but that is the only time that word can be used to describe his acting abilities. Everything else that he did before Role Models stank.)
Cop Out is just that – a major Hollywood cop-out. Nobody put anything into this movie, and neither should you. It is not worth watching. Even if you think it looks funny and are dying to see it, don’t give in. Just wait. Cop Out’s home video release is guaranteed to begin in Walmart’s $5 DVD bin.
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures