Kevin Smith's last few movies have stayed on my DVD shelves longer and longer before I watched them. It's the most passive way I can think of to pass judgment: paying money for something that I choose to ignore. Just so happens this website entered my life...yadda yadda yadda...I just watched Cop Out during its first week of home release. To counter that, I didn't buy it. I rented it with two other movies at Blockbuster because it made it cheaper. And for that and that alone, I didn't feel cheated. There is no exception that proves the rule of averages. There is just the average. There is Cop Out.
"Rock Out With Your Glock Out" is the tagline on the front of this DVD that almost made my already trembling hand open up and let the plastic case fall to the ground, causing a scene. Cop Out is one of those movies that had so much internet blabber during its production that it soured me completely. I expected a wreck, or at least a cinematic fender bender. It really isn't so bad. This is what Beverly Hills Cop 3 possibly should have been. Recognize the blurb potential here: Cop Out is timeless...because it could have been made in 1985 and nobody could tell the difference. (Except for the cell-phone costume.) If only the Saturday Night Live players of old had utilized overabundant improvisation like this generation has.
Jimmy Monroe (a battery-powered Bruce Willis) and Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan) have been partners in crimebusting for nine years. A familiar shorthand language should exist between the two by now. But, of course, they talk like they're in a movie. In fact, the first scene, Paul's interrogation of a suspect, has Morgan zipping through as many different film-character quotes as the viewer can stand. It's a microcosm of the next 100+ minutes, where scenes are long on jokes and paced like a horse in shoes of varying weights. More things are funny than aren't, but the story is completely cheesy and non-ironic, which highlights its flimsiness.
Jimmy and Paul get themselves suspended after a sting goes wrong, which puts a damper on Jimmy's ability to pay for his daughter's $50,000 wedding. If he can't pay, it means her wealthy stepfather Roy (Jason Lee) will pay for it, thus hurting Jimmy's ego. Roy's a prick, but probably only because Jimmy was one first. Whose pride is worth $50,000? Not mine. So the grand scheme for quick cash is to sell a rare Andy Palko baseball card. Unfortunately, the store Jimmy chooses to sell it in is robbed, and Paul is too distracted to stop it. They've got to get that card!
Enter the B-story: Paul was distracted by a phone call with his wife (Rashida Jones), whom he is all about sexing up but has recently become suspicious of. He thinks something extra-marital is happening between her and a neighbor, so much so that a nanny-cam is brought into things. I know the storyline only exists to give Tracy Morgan a female to talk about during his monologue-length ad-libs, but it's incredibly weak nonetheless.
If you can believe it, the sting-suspect and the hobby-store robbery all link back to the same person, Poh Boy (Guillermo Diaz), who may or may not have the Palko card, depending on whether or not Jimmy can retrieve a stolen car...yawn...that has a girl in the trunk. It's all action-comedy mechanics, and it all stinks of laziness. Seann William Scott plays the parkour-fanatic thief who ends up helping Jimmy and Paul along the way. His scenes are way too long and use easy humor as a crutch. There are myriad bit roles by famous funny folk, but the only ones that prove enjoyable are Kevin Pollack and Adam Brody. They play two other detectives who are the sticks in Jimmy and Paul's craws. I wanted the movie to have been about them, where Tracy Morgan would show up only occasionally.
The direction is so by-the-book it's not even worth mentioning, except to be put off by those scenes where the ad libs just keep on going. Nobody will want Smith to do a Bourne movie, but it's far from unwatchable. Take a listen to the songs that are accompanying some of that direction though. The score by veteran composer Harold Faltermeyer is adequate, but the popular song selection is appalling, though it reinforces the 1980s vibe. Ram Jam, Rakim, Beastie Boys. There are more black people on those songs than there are in the movie. And speaking of ethnicity, nothing about Poh Boy and his posse is realistic, though a Spanish Cypress Hill song accompanies their actions at one point.
Never (ever ever) the sum of its potentially cohesive parts, Cop Out is as predictable as breakfast, and is sectioned out as such. You've seen everyone in this movie in something better. If you've got the time to kill (and Morgan references A Time to Kill in the opening), then by all means give this disc a spin. Just don't expect more than the title suggests, as with the film I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle. Bring on Red State.
The Blu-Ray was rented out, so I had to get the DVD, which has no special features on it. A cloak of gracious shame on everyone involved!
Reviewed By: Nick Venable
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