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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 9.68%
Average: 19.35%
Pretty Bad: 19.35%
Total Crap51.61%

4 reviews, 7 user ratings

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Cop Out
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by William Goss

"A Couple Of Laughs (But Not Enough)"
2 stars

If Kevin Smith’s 'Clerks' taught me the word “malaise,” then his 'Cop Out' seems like far too accurate an example of it.

Although, for starters, it seems disingenuous to even call this Smith’s film. For the first time in his career, the foul-mouthed free-wheeler is directing a script other than his own, and on paper, it seems like an apt match of man and material, a student of Fletch and the like getting the chance to emulate similar mismatched-buddy action-comedies from the ‘80s. Cast Bruce Willis, the one and only John McClane, to play the hard-nosed cop on the case and the ever-irreverent Tracy Morgan to play his wise-cracking partner. Get Harold Faltermeyer of Beverly Hills Cop theme fame to dust off the synthesizer and do the score.

Again, on paper, it sounds downright inspired and suitably assembled, but somewhere on its way to the screen, Cop Out’s execution succumbed to apathy. Despite Morgan’s character’s winky assertion early on that the interrogation technique he’s using isn’t stealing but homage, the film fails to align itself with homage or parody. It’s a fairly straight-faced buddy-cop action-comedy with a sophomoric streak a mile wide, the type of movie that asks us to buy Willis and Morgan as partners for nine years rather than nine minutes, that asks us to buy that the stereotypical Hispanic villains aren’t the least bit aware of how stereotypical they are, that asks us to buy Jason Lee as the movie’s closest thing to a straight man.

Lee’s appearance is most indicative of the movie’s aimlessness. He’s playing it straight. Smith’s playing it straight. Willis is playing it irritated. Morgan’s going for spastic, prone to the occasionally amusing non sequitur but not the type of gold that Tina Fey supplies for him and us week after week. The typically gruff police captain? He’s there, but he’s not funny. Your usual competitive detectives? They’re played here by Adam Brody and Kevin Pollak; one has a thing for specialty boots, and then they both do. That’s the joke. A smart-ass snitch played by Seann William Scott? He parrots everything that anyone says. A ten-year-old car thief? He cusses, hits a grown man in the groin and then takes a punch to the junk himself. These are the jokes, and the ten-year-old in the row ahead of me ate them up (he also liked it when Morgan, while dressed up in a cell phone costume, had to steal a bicycle and then fend off the owner’s pit bull).

What those gags have to do with 'Lethal Weapon' and 'Beverly Hills Cop' and 'The Last Boy Scout' and others, I’ll never know. It’s not fair to expect every cop comedy to be 'Hot Fuzz', but something as consistently silly as 'Starsky and Hutch' would’ve sufficed. That’s not a high bar to set, but somewhere between the page and the screen, 'Cop Out' settled for being 'Kevin Smith’s Loaded Weapon 2', only without enough of, you know, Kevin Smith to make it funny.

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originally posted: 02/27/10 09:47:19
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User Comments

1/17/16 David H. Bruce Willis is cashing his paycheck 1 stars
7/07/11 DK A plotless, witless, poorly directed farce with actors who just don't care. 1 stars
1/23/11 mr.mike Yes , it's pretty awful. But I was entertained. 4 stars
7/26/10 Stephanie this movie was funny :D 4 stars
5/07/10 Ruby Spinel Kept my interest in a way that more serious cop dramas seldom do anymore. 4 stars
2/28/10 Jean Kacic Cop Out is nothing but bad lanquage, bad sexual comments and we wonder why our young ones a 1 stars
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  26-Feb-2010 (R)
  DVD: 20-Jul-2010

  16-Apr-2010 (15)

  18-Mar-2010 (MA)
  DVD: 20-Jul-2010

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