Monday, March 29, 2010

Review: Cop Out (Kevin Smith, 2010)

After only a few moments into Cop Out, Kevin Smith’s latest project to seemingly cover the bills, you question why this film was even conceived and made. It acts as ‘homage’ to the 1980’s buddy cop films, this time starring Bruce Willis (Die Hard) and Tracy Morgan (30 Rock) as the pair of incompetent NYPD detectives. The pair has a bond after nine years of service together and day that begins the film marks their anniversary. It is established in the opening sequences that Paul (Morgan) is a specialist in film quotes and utilizes a number of famous characterizations in his bad-cop interrogation technique of a drug suspect. Jimmy (Willis) is the cooler head, who normally leads the interrogation, with Paul taking notes, but steps aside to let Paul work this one. This early scene is both ridiculous and surprisingly hilarious and gives a glimmer of hope to this potential disaster. But subsequent scenes drive home the latter theory. After gathering the information they need for the drug bust they set up a sting, which is horribly botched, leading to their one-month suspension from the force. Jimmy’s daughter Ava (Michelle Trachtenberg) is getting married, and despite the request of his ex-wife’s new husband Roy (Jason Lee) to pay for the lavish wedding, Jimmy vows to have the money on time. His plan is to sell his 1952 mint condition Andy Pafko baseball card to pay for the wedding. During the transaction, some bumbling thieves rob the store (one is later revealed as Dave, played by Seann William Scott), Jimmy is taken down and the priceless card is stolen. Despite their suspension the pair hunt down Dave, and eventually arrest him, only to discover that he has sold the card to feared drug dealer and leader of the Mexican Mob, Poh Boy (Guillermo Diaz), who offers the card in return of the retrieval of his stolen car. Cop Out’s plot takes a number of wild and incredible turns, as the pair becomes caught up in Poh Boy’s schemes. They discover a woman (named Gabriella) in the trunk of the car in question, who holds secrets to Poh Boy’s crimes and a flash drive with information of illegal offshore bank accounts. After holding her in protection, she flees, fearing the danger she has brought to the men, and winds up being held at gunpoint by Poh Boy’s gang. Jimmy and Paul plan an assault on the place to rescue Gabriella, take down the gang and retrieve the missing card. It is an unoriginal and messy premise and it is delivered without skill or flair, with few real laughs. It is amusing at times but Morgan’s character is so irritating that they are short lived. Bruce Willis just looks bored throughout, and the supporting characters, led by William Scott, Adam Brody (The OC) and Kevin Pollack (The Usual Suspects) no doubt regretted their involvement in this project. Smith’s interest in the project, formulated by Mark and Robb Cullen and originally called A Couple of Dicks, was through the idea that the film was about cops who ‘were practically married’. The crude dialogue involves playful banter between the pair, but it fails on almost all levels to be consistently funny. The references to past buddy cop relationships like in Lethal Weapon and Pulp Fiction are obvious and amusing, but beyond the recycling of these ideas the film lacks anything fresh. This is not a Kevin Smith film, but a project he was asked to direct. So fans of Kevin Smith films are going to be disappointed as it contains none of the characters or gags that made his films somewhat appealing. I haven’t been interested in any of his films for some time, so my expectations were very low for this outing. While I still found myself laughing, it was more at the ridiculousness of what I was witnessing, rather than the success of the gags. Even with a poor lineup at the box office currently, this is one to stay well clear of.

My Rating: 1 ½ Stars

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