Who’s In It: Tracy Morgan, Bruce Willis, Seann William Scott, Ana de la Reguera, Michelle Trachtenberg, Rashida Jones, Guillermo Diaz, Jason Lee, Adam Brody, Kevin Pollak
The Basics: Brooklyn detectives Jimmy and Paul (Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan) use unorthodox methods to get the job done -- the kind that result in costly city damages, suspensions without pay, and police chiefs barking “your gun and your badge!” When they’re not chasing bad guys, walking in slo-mo to early ‘90s rap songs, and bickering over who gets to play “bad cop” in the interrogation room, both partners have their own problems to deal with; Jimmy worries that he can’t pay for his daughter’s wedding, while Paul fears that his wife (Rashida Jones) is having an affair. Enter a whacked-out, parkour-practicing thief (Seann William Scott), who ties the plot together by stealing Jimmy’s prized vintage baseball card, which winds up in the hands of a memorabilia-collecting Mexican drug lord (Guillermo Diaz). Plenty of bullets, f-bombs, and unsubtle nods to the B-movie cop genre fly as Kevin Smith turns in his first non-Kevin Smith movie.
What’s The Deal: Cop Out is an LOL movie – as in, you’ll find yourself laughing out loud constantly, and at the stupidest jokes imaginable. The funniest lines come from Tracy Morgan, who’s given more freedom for his bizarre brand of comedy than he gets on 30 Rock. (Fair warning: if you don’t normally find Tracy Morgan hilarious, you may not experience the same level of blissful enjoyment from the jokes about his poop in Cop Out as I did.) It may feel familiar, but that’s by design; Smith and writers Robb and Mark Cullen have borrowed from all of their favorite cop comedies and actioners of the ‘80s and ‘90s, paying homage to all of the most obvious clichés of the genre. And while Cop Out doesn’t really have anything new or important to say as a film (except “Weren’t the Lethal Weapon and Die Hard movies awesome?”), it’s fun while it lasts.
A Mixed Bag Of Nuts: Seann William Scott’s pathologically obnoxious thief manages to steal scenes from the bromantic duo of Willis and Morgan, even though his character only exists to move the ridiculous plot along. Ana de la Guera also puts on an admirable show as a smokin’ hot Spanish-speaking witness who comes under Paul and Jimmy’s care. But with its excess of supporting characters, we see too much of grating cast members like Kevin Pollak and Adam Brody as two rival police detective partners, and Guillermo Diaz’s over-the-top villain, a caricature not quite on par with the Hans Grubers of the world.
Score One For Faltermeyer Fans: The crowning glory of Cop Out is its ‘80s-tastic score by composer Harold Faltermeyer, the man who wrote “Axel F” for Beverly Hills Cop and scored such retro classics as Top Gun, Fire & Ice, Tango & Cash, and Fletch. Smith enlisted Faltermeyer to write original music in the spirit of his Moog-iest synth machine-driven soundtracks, and the result is a score that enhances every scene with the invisible spectre of all of Cop Out’s cheesy cinematic predecessors. (Extra points for using the Stephanie Mills-sung theme from Fletch over Cop Out’s closing credits.)
Kevin Smith Who? Not familiar with the films of geek auteur Kevin Smith? (He’s the large gentleman at the center of the Southwest Airline Snafu of 2010.) That won’t matter much, since Smith doesn’t leave much of his signature on the film other than its surplus of infantile jokes. But if you want to revisit the formerly indie filmmaker’s more original works, Netflix Clerks, Chasing Amy, or 2008’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno (just be sure to skip Jersey Girl).