Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Adam Brody,
Kevin Pollak, Guillermo Díaz, Seann William Scott,
Jason Lee, Ana de la Reguera
RunTime: 1 hr 47 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: M18 (Coarse Language And Sexual References)
Official Website: http://www.cop-out-movie.co.uk/
Opening Day: 11 March 2010
longtime NYPD partners on the trail of a stolen, rare, mint-condition
baseball card find themselves up against a merciless, memorabilia-obsessed
gangster. Jimmy (Bruce Willis) is the veteran detective whose
missing collectible is his only hope to pay for his daughter’s
upcoming wedding, and Paul (Tracy Morgan) is his “partner-against-crime”
whose preoccupation with his wife’s alleged infidelity
makes it hard for him to keep his eye on the ball.
Kevin Smith’s action-comedy “Cop Out” is a retread down the well-worn buddy cop routine, his odd couple pairing the unflappable Bruce Willis and the loud-mouthed maniacal Tracy Morgan. The title of this white-guy/ black-guy detective flick may seem a little odd at first, but it does get more fitting during the course of the movie- though presumably not in the way Kevin Smith had intended.
Things start promisingly enough with Willis’ Jimmy Monroe and Morgan’s Paul Hodges celebrating their ninth anniversary of their partnership together. Hodges gives Monroe an anniversary card so Monroe would agree to let him interrogate a small-time drug dealer. Monroe’s idea of questioning suspects consists of spouting line after line of his favourite movies – everything from “Scarface” to “Training Day” to “The Color Purple” to Willis’ own “Die Hard”.
“Yippie-ki-yay,” Morgan says. “Not familiar with that one,” Willis responds. That opening scene just about sets the tone for what “Cop Out” tries to accomplish- basically, paying homage to those '80s genre pictures that audiences would be familiar with, complete with “Beverly Hills Cop” composer Harold Faltermeyer's uber-'80s synthesizer score. Those familiar with Kevin Smith will know that he is not content to simply celebrate the genre, and indeed his film is also part-parody in its treatment of some possible gay attraction passing between Willis and Morgan.
All this promises to be a glorious satire of buddy-movie clichés, and at least in its first half, it delivers on this even if it does so in stops and starts. When Willis and Morgan try to catch a thief, they get some unexpected help from a gun-toting gung-ho housewife whose house is the target. When they go out to apprehend a major car thief, they find their suspect is actually an expletive-spitting 11-year-old. And in what is probably the film’s funniest running gag, Morgan meets his quick-talking match in Seann William Scott’s ‘parkour’ thief, Scott’s mimicking shtick a perfect foil against Morgan’s incessant whine.
Trust me, Morgan does a lot of whining- and if you were never a fan of his routine in “30 Rock”, it’s unlikely you’ll become a fan now. For the first time in his career, Kevin Smith is not directing a movie he has written- and the consequence is largely negative. In his past films (“ Dogma”, “Clerks”, “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”), Smith’s typical slack direction was compensated by his sharp, witty dialogue. Here with little of his trademark scatological humour, “Cop Out” becomes a bore, a dread even, where certain scenes very obviously outlast their welcome long before they end.
That slack pacing is especially apparent in the second half of the film, where even Willis and Morgan’s wisecracking act is not enough to cover up Robb and Mark Cullen’s thin script. Perhaps its worst misfire is Kevin Pollak and Adam Brody’s rival cops, the stereotypical pair of dull, square detectives who do little but stand in the way of our heroes. So unnecessary and leaden is their dialogue it’s a wonder why the two stars decided to take up their respective roles.
From what seemed to be the unlikely but inspired pairing of Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan, to Kevin Smith’s maiden studio directorial effort, to the whole hoo-ha over the movie’s original title “A Couple of Dicks”, “Cop Out” is too dull and tedious to be the smart and amusing buddy-cop satire one would expect it to be. Sure, it has its share of LOL moments, but these are few and far in-between, leaving one without a doubt about the aptness of its title.
(Kevin Smith’s parody of the buddy-cop genre is not funny or inspired enough to rouse more than a few sporadic guffaws)
Review by Gabriel Chong