Cop Out is Kevin Smith’s first film directing someone else’s script and it painfully shows as it lacks any real humour, intelligence, plot and importantly on screen chemistry between Willis and Morgan which is something I was really looking forward to seeing. What appeared on screen was a mess with about 3-4 jokes (which is generous) that worked just enough to raise a chuckle with everything else either falling flat, being just plain stupid or unoriginally cliched, it lacks everything Kevin Smith is so well known for.
Cop Out (which had a far superior working title A Couple of Dicks) is a scarcely satirical homage to the mismatched buddy movies that thrived in the 80’s like 48 Hours, Lethal weapon and the awesome Running Scared. Detectives Monroe (Willis) and Hodges (Morgan) are the unlikely but clichéd nine year veterans of the NYPD who after a bungled sting operation get hit with a 30 day unpaid suspension. Monroe has an issue of a ,000 price tag for the dream wedding for his daughter Ava (Trachtenberg) whose step father (Jason Lee) has offered to pay the costs, and so to protect his fatherly pride and without a months salary (that I presume will be enough to cover the 50k) Monroe chooses to sell his beloved Andy Pafko baseball card that’s worth around ,000.
Clever plot twist now: However during the handover of the card to a local dealer Monroe is mugged by Dave (Seann William Scott) and the card sond on, which forces Monroe to align with the Pafko’s new owner a Latino drug boss Poh Boy (Díaz) who is also involved with a string of murders that the NYPD is investigating by Monroe and Hodges rivals, Detectives Hunsaker (Kevin Pollak) and Mangold (Adam Brody). The plot thickens when Monroe and Hodges recover kidnap victim Gabriela (Reguera) who has evidence to put Poh Boy away for life and it’s up to them to keep her alive. I think that is the plot, but in all honesty I lost interest early on.
Apart from the decent performance of Guillermo Díaz who superbly played the intimidating gang boss and baseball memorabilia collector Poh Boy the characters are all pretty unlikeable and you really couldn’t care about what happened to Monroe and Hodges or even believe they have been partners for 9 years like we’re told they are, in fact I doubt you could believe they were cops considering the way they conduct their business and the shear stupidity of their actions. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover were great cops in Lethal Weapon, you knew they were, you cared about them and so the film worked because of it, Cop Out is the complete opposite.
You can forgive films like this if the humour is there but Cop Out has almost none for a comedy film and when they resort to a foul mouth ghetto car stealing 11 year old for laughs or Bruce Willis directly referencing Die Hard films then you know your in a bad place. Tracy Morgan’s surreal child like rambling that works so well in 30 Rock is quickly becoming annoying, there is a scene where he talks about his poo for ages in one long joke that really hit home just how bad the film was but there was the smallest chink of light in the film is Seann William Scott whose cameo was the only real plus of the film offering 100% of the entire films laughs in a 5 minute spell in the back of Monroe and Hodges car winding up Hodges with some classic lines and it’s a shame there wasn’t more banter between the three as that was when the film was at its strongest.
It’s clear then that the main problem with the film is the script by Robb and Mark Cullen which is terrible; it lacks anything any actor could have turned into something watchable or funny and although Smith edited the film himself to maybe try and save the film from being a disaster he fails in editing anything remotely fun, clever or worthwhile and it’s a real dent into his reputation that I doubt even the most hardcore Smith fans will enjoy.
Cop Out is released on the 21st May.