"Cop Out" is a buddy cop film in which one of the cops continually quotes dialogue espoused by fictional cops, in everything from "Heat" to "RoboCop," and not once is it funny.
The film winks at the audience for 110
minutes. Tracy Morgan plays the motormouth
NYPD detective partner of Bruce
Willis. Now: There's no reason these two
couldn't headline a perfectly proficient
action comedy in the realm of "Beverly
Hills Cop" or "48 HRS." or "Lethal Weapon"
or "Running Scared" or "Red Heat" or
"Freebie and the Bean" or "Tango & Cash"
or "Turner & Hooch" or "Pride and Prejudice."
But this is a lousy, invention-free
script, and Kevin Smith -- an interesting
and valuable filmmaker here doing his
first direction-only work for hire -- cannot
do anything to save it. His directorial personality
is not to be found.
The film makes you appreciate Walter Hill's "48 HRS." and Martin Brest's "Beverly
Hills Cop" all the more. Both those pictures
were nothing more than canny, hard-charging,
volatile commercial entertainments,
but by placing Eddie Murphy in the
middle of The Usual, the formula got a
right old shaking-up. Also, Hill and Brest
could shape and finesse an action sequence.
Smith can do many things, and
has, in "Clerks" and "Dogma" and "Zack
and Miri Make a Porno" and others. But
R-rated action in the service of a conventional
plot and marketable slaughter isn't
yet in his skill set.
Willis' Jimmy and Morgan's Paul chase
down Latino gangsters and scurry after
Jimmy's purloined baseball card, the one
he's cashing in to pay for his daughter's
$48,000 wedding. (Seems like a dumb way
to spend $48,000, but then, I'm not a working-class NYPD detective.) Seann William
Scott has a couple of excruciating scenes
as a trash-talking punk whom the boys
take for a drag across a gravel road. In the
'70s, the era of "Freebie and the Bean," the guy would've been dead in a minute; here,
it's sort of a joke and sort of not. And that's
"Cop Out" in a nutshell. Only "Beverly
Hills Cop" composer Harold Faltermeyer's
uber-'80s synthesizer score brings back the
old ... well, not "magic," exactly, but the old
MPAA rating: R (for pervasive language
including sexual references, violence and
Cast: Bruce Willis (Jimmy Monroe); Tracy
Morgan (Paul Hodges); Adam Brody (Barry
Mangold); Kevin Pollak (Hunsaker);
Guillermo Diaz (Poh Boy); Ana de la
Reguera (Gabriela); Seann William Scott
(Dave); Rashida Jones (Debbie)
Credits: Directed by Kevin Smith; written
by Robb Cullen and Mark Cullen; produced
by Marc Platt, Polly Johnsen and Michael
Tadross. A Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Running time: 1:50
The film winks at the audience for 110 minutes
Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis, 'Cop Out'