Title: Cop Out
Year of Release: 2010
Date Viewed: September 29th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Kevin Smith returns to the director's chair but not the writing desk for this 80's cop movie homage.
Our two best-buddy policemen are Bruce Willis as Jimmy Monroe and Tracy Morgan as Paul Hodges. Jimmy is a no-nonsense by-the-book detective with the skills to back up his words. Paul is mostly talk, does things his own way and never seems to be focused when he most needs to. If you've watched and enjoyed Rush Hour or Tango & Cash, you'll feel right at home here.
After a seek-and-capture mission goes wrong, Jimmy and Paul are both suspended for thirty days without pay. Jimmy has a crisis at home too. His daughter is recently engaged. Due to a divorce, the two have barely had a relationship. Jimmy still loves her enough to offer to pay for the wedding himself, but it's mostly just his way of sticking it to her dorky stepfather. To cover the costs, Jimmy heads to a pawn shop to sell a rare baseball collector's card worth upwards of eighty thousand dollars. Before the sale could take place, he is ambushed by a group of thugs employed by a sports memorabilia obsessed criminal.
Jimmy and Paul follow their leads to the gangster's hideout and embark on various misadventures to reclaim the valuable card and exact revenge, pay or no pay.
Although Kevin Smith did not write this film, his signature humor is fingerprinted everywhere. Pop culture is name-dropped by the characters; a style that counts entirely on audience recognition for laughs. Modern vocabulary is messed around with. Try not to laugh while watching the heated discussion full of curse words being self-censored to prevent a ten-year old kid from hearing them.
Even though most of the comedy works, the script is rather weak overall, which means that Willis and Morgan had to carry the film if it had any hopes of finding an audience. Willis has perfected a facial expression that reads "Are you freaking kidding me?". Every time I see it, I laugh like a middle school child. Morgan's shtick usually gets old fast but it helps that he splits the screentime with Willis, so he doesn't wear out his welcome too soon.
Just about all of the 80s cliches are here. Explosions that the heroes run away from just in time. The police chief growing frustrated with the heroes' tactics and threatening to fire them even though they get the job done better than anyone else. A love interest being fought over by everyone good and evil. Even the music score is given a retro sound, composed by synth master Harold Faltermeyer. The only thing missing is a colorful villain. In fact, the villains are so boring here that it felt like they were given too much exposure even though none of their personalities were fully developed. They should made up their minds before filming if they were going to try for an interesting subplot.
What is missing in the villain department is made up for with a hilarious supporting character played by Seann William Scott. He is primarily used as the heroes' scapegoat and it's entertaining to watch him still act conceited after all the embarrassing stuff he is put through. It's the perfect role for Scott and one of the best highlights.
The first half of the movie runs at a breezing pace with plenty of fun moments. The second half has a glaring lack of confidence in what had already been working okay. Willis and Morgan suddenly act disinterested and the story struggles to figure out a logical conclusion. The ending itself is eye-rolling bad.
80s homages seem to be becoming a genre in itself with how often they get greenlighted. The definitive nostalgic entertainment package has yet to be made. Cop Out stands as a middle ground attempt. Its good and bad qualities average out to a watchable product that is ultimately forgettable.