I was sort of liking "Beverly Hills Cop II." I was willing to forgive its stumbling plot and strained comedy routines and all those silly car chases. Eddie Murphy was payoff enough.
Then I realized the jokes were coming at some expense.
From its opening sexual jibes about big-breasted "bimbos" to a climactic shoot-out in which a villainess is (as they say) blown away, only to become the butt of a joke (the cop who nails her exclaims, "Women!"), the film's makers get their points across loud and clear. With no lack of meanness.
Who needs it?
When "Cop II" isn't sneering, it's leering, with lots of close-ups of C-cups (with and without coverage) and bikinied bottoms. It's as if women's bodies are just the Southern Cal landscape, like so many palm trees, volleyball games on the beach and racy sports cars.
And lest anyone forget that this is a comedy, or that Axel Foley (Murphy's cop character) is 100% a manly man, there's a lot of groin humor. Literally. Like the scene in which Alex and his sidekicks go to their version of heaven--the Playboy Mansion.
How do the guys survive an encounter with a yard of Playboy cuties? Foley's got the answer: He grabs his crotch for a groin joke.
Well, "Cop II" doesn't have its way with every female. There's a single exception. See, Capt. Bogomil (Ronny Cox, again) has this drippy daughter named Jan. . . .
(Never mind that she was never once mentioned in "Cop I." Or that the cap and Alex have, curiously and inconceivably, become fast friends between "Cops I" and "II." Would you believe the two of 'em reminiscing about a fishing trip!
(The point is, the daughter, like this surprise bonding of Eddie and the captain, is nothing more than a writer's device to fill in the gaping plot holes.)
See, every time Jan surfaces, she furthers the twisting plot by providing some details to the messy mystery. Oh--and Alex shifts into his "sympathetic" mode. With with her daddy shot (he recovers by film's end), he gives Jan his shoulder to cry on.
Strictly brotherly, of course.
Jan's also on hand in an attempt to balance out the attitude toward the rest of its women.
Well, actually, the script (credited to Larry Ferguson and Warren Skaaren, with the story co-authored by Murphy) doesn't call them women. The preferred word is bitch.
That's Alex's surmisal of 6-foot blonde Brigitte Nielsen, who plays a baddie.
When the camera slowly pans up her long legs, moving from her high heels to linger at the hemline of her short skirt (with an upward angle), Alex responds, "So how long would it take to shave those legs?" He'd be happy to offer his "grooming services."
Axel's just as charming when they meet again at the heavenly Playboy Manse. Spying her across the grounds, he recognizes her with the preferred word.
If Nielsen had gotten to play anything more than a cardboard villainess, it would have been fitting to watch her deliver a deftly aimed kick at Axel's you know where.
In all fairness, though, Murphy's been victimized by this film as well.
When it comes to black stars--especially black male stars-- white Hollywood tends to get nervous. Especially when it comes to love scenes. (Remember that dumb romance in "The Golden Child," which found Murphy "falling in love" without ever giving his light-skinned sweetie so much as a kiss!)
Which may explain why Murphy's relegated to treating women the way he does. I mean, he can't get the girl. . . .
Which brings to mind all those interviews with "Cop II" producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, who proclaim proudly that they specialize in giving the public what it wants.
They must have figured that the expectations weren't too high with "Cop II."