"Cop Out" is a buddy cop film in whichone of the cops continually quotes dialogueespoused by fictional cops, in everythingfrom "Heat" to "RoboCop," and not once isit funny.
The film winks at the audience for 110minutes. Tracy Morgan plays the motormouth
NYPD detective partner of BruceWillis. Now: There's no reason these twocouldn't headline a perfectly proficientaction comedy in the realm of "BeverlyHills 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-freescript, and Kevin Smith -- an interestingand valuable filmmaker here doing hisfirst direction-only work for hire -- cannotdo anything to save it. His directorial personalityis not to be found.
The film makes you appreciate Walter Hill's "48 HRS." and Martin Brest's "BeverlyHills Cop" all the more. Both those pictureswere nothing more than canny, hard-charging,volatile commercial entertainments,but by placing Eddie Murphy in themiddle of The Usual, the formula got aright old shaking-up. Also, Hill and Brestcould shape and finesse an action sequence.Smith can do many things, andhas, in "Clerks" and "Dogma" and "Zackand Miri Make a Porno" and others. ButR-rated action in the service of a conventionalplot and marketable slaughter isn'tyet in his skill set.
Willis' Jimmy and Morgan's Paul chasedown Latino gangsters and scurry afterJimmy's purloined baseball card, the onehe's cashing in to pay for his daughter's$48,000 wedding. (Seems like a dumb wayto spend $48,000, but then, I'm not a working-class NYPD detective.) Seann WilliamScott has a couple of excruciating scenesas a trash-talking punk whom the boystake 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 "BeverlyHills Cop" composer Harold Faltermeyer'suber-'80s synthesizer score brings back theold ... well, not "magic," exactly, but the oldstyle.
MPAA rating: R (for pervasive languageincluding sexual references, violence andbrief sexuality)
Cast: Bruce Willis (Jimmy Monroe); TracyMorgan (Paul Hodges); Adam Brody (BarryMangold); Kevin Pollak (Hunsaker);Guillermo Diaz (Poh Boy); Ana de laReguera (Gabriela); Seann William Scott(Dave); Rashida Jones (Debbie)
Credits: Directed by Kevin Smith; writtenby Robb Cullen and Mark Cullen; producedby Marc Platt, Polly Johnsen and MichaelTadross. A Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Running time: 1:50Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun