Cop Out (2010)
Directed by: Kevin Smith
Premise: A pair of police detectives (Bruce Willis
and Tracy Morgan) attempt to track down the petty thieves who stole a valuable
baseball card and unwittingly uncover a criminal network of drugs and murder.
What Works: There are a few individual scenes that
play well, usually due to the comedic talents of Tracy Morgan.
What Doesn’t: Cop Out is a mess from start
to finish. The story is convoluted by multiple false starts, a sloppy murder
mystery, and characters who randomly walk in and out of the narrative. As an
action film, Cop Out falls far short. None of the chases or shootouts are
filmed or edited very well and the way the violence of these scenes is staged
betrays the comedic tone. The casting choices are also poor; Tracy Morgan is
completely unconvincing as any kind of police officer, even in this goofy
context. Bruce Willis has been placed here to lend Cop Out some
credibility with his usual hardboiled cop routine but there is very little for
him to do and the film fails to either take advantage of Willis’ persona or to
parody it. Cop Out suffers a similar problem in its treatment of the
buddy-cop genre; the film begins as though it were intended to be a parody or
satire but it never makes an effort to send up the clichés and just walks
through them, one by one. When Cop Out tries to add something new, such
as domestic problems in the detective’s families, none of these story elements
go anywhere, and just send the film on unfunny tangents. And this is a very
unfunny film. The gags of Cop Out include police officers handcuffing a
suspect to the bumper of their car and dragging him over gravel and later
holding a gun up to the head of a suspect’s wife while quoting movie lines.
Moralizing over taste (or lack thereof) is generally a pointless exercise,
especially in critiquing a comedy, but Cop Out spends a lot of its time
making a joke out of subjects like police brutality and gang violence and it
comes across as gratuitous instead of edgy.
Bottom Line: It’s hard to believe that Kevin Smith, the director of some of the most challenging and original comedies of the past twenty years, allowed Cop Out to end up like this. The film is a dud that should have stared D-list actors and gone directly to DVD.
Episode: #279 (March 7, 2010)