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Cop Out (2010) ***

February 26, 2010


Cop Out (2010) poster

written by: Rob and Mark Cullen
produced by: Mark Platt and Polly Johnson
directed by: Kevin Smith
Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, violence and brief sexuality.
107 min.
U.S. release date: February 26, 2010

As “Cop Out” opens, we learn that Brooklyn detectives, Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) and Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan) have been partners for nine years. They’re about to interrogate a suspect connected with a Mexican drug deal that’s supposed to go down that day. Paul convinces Jimmy to let him do the questioning and reluctantly, Jimmy gives in. What the audience and Jimmy witness next is a hilarious nonsensical tirade, the kind one would expect from Morgan, as he uses lines from various movies (from “Scarface” to Schindler’s List”) to grill the perp. We shake our head and chuckle along with Jimmy as he lists off all the movies his partner uses. When Paul uses the classic line, “Yippie-ki-yay” line from the “Die-Hard” films, Willis responds the deadpan, “Not familiar with that one.”

 That scene sets the tone for the film right there. The two are like a live-action Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, you one have to guess which character represents which toon. It also confirms the loony camaraderie the two dicks (easy now, that’s short for detectives and the reason why Smith wanted to call the film, “A Couple of Dicks”) have and gives you the idea that no other cop would put up with them. Like Morgan’s Paul, Smith is gleefully paying homage to those buddy cop comedies from the 80’s, and the result is an outrageously funny and fun time at the theater.
That’s the thing to remember with this film.  It knows what it is and everyone involved is having fun with it. Brothers Robb and Mark Cullen wrote a script that doesn’t offer anything new because they really don’t need to. They have the standard buddy cop conventions to play with and have added today’s accepted raunch to the overall tone, which falls in appropriately to Smith’s style.
After the duo botch up their lead on the drug sting, their captain (Sean Cullen) collects their badges and guns and suspends them for thirty days without pay. Sound familiar? That move goes back all the way to Harry Callahan. Of course, these two aren’t as cool as Dirty Harry. We know from past films that a suspension doesn’t mean that the detectives will be sitting on their hands for the rest of the film. Jimmy is in a bind since he was hoping to pay for his daughter’s (Michelle Trachtenberg) $48,000 wedding.
There’s no way he’ll  let his ex-wife, Pam’s (Francie Swift) wealthy and obnoxious husband, Roy (Jason Lee) humiliate him by paying for it all.
He makes the tough decision to sell his 1952 Pafko baseball card but before he can do so the prized possession is stolen by Dave (Seann William Scott), a stoner parkour thief. As Jimmy and Paul chase the card, they realize they’ll have to take down Poh Boy (Guillermo Diaz), the local drug lord who happens to have an affinity for baseball memorabilia. Along the way they have to contend with a foul-mouthed ten year-old boy for intel, help out a beautiful girl (Nacho Libre’s Ana de la Reguera) they find in a car trunk, while dealing with the possibility that Paul’s wife, Debbie (Rashinda Jones) is cheating on him. There’s a lot crammed into this paper-thin plot yet it breezes by at an entertaining pace.
Another buddy cop staple that can be found here is that of the antagonizing detectives often found competing with the protagonist’s in an effort to make them look inept. Think of the other cops in the “Lethal Weapon” and “Stakeout” movies and you’ll find Hunsaker (Kevin Pollak) and his partner, Barry (Adam Brody) filling those roles. They get some good additional comedy in, Pollack moreso than Brody but at times their characters come across a bit forced. Still, they have some great back and forth with Willis and Morgan in the precinct which still had me laughing after the movie was over.
That’s something else this movie does; it keeps a smile on your face as you think back on it. You know there’s no heavy grey matter weaving its way through the script but it’s still fun….something viewers and critics often forget. You can still have fun at the movies! Smith is not at all the most capable action movie director out there (something he probably knows) but he knows funny and this genre well.
He also knows well enough to employ composer Harold Faltermeyer (“Beverly Hills Cop”, “Fletch” & “Tango and Cash”, to name a few) to work his retro magic on the film’s score. The results are pure nostalgia bliss for those who grew up on his soundtracks, there’s even a jumping Patti LaBelle cut at the end credits. And pay attention to those end credits for a funny scene you won’t wanna miss.
These films used to draw big summer bank back in the 80’s and now, movies based on toy lines from the 80’s have monopolized the summer multiplexes.  It may be released in late February but at least its out there. While Kevin Smith is a great writer and I appreciate his geekness, I wouldn’t mind seeing him direct someone else’s script again. Sure, this was a departure but it still felt like one of his movies and surprisingly, I found myself enjoying it all. Partly due to the chemistry of the two leads but mostly because it was great to be immersed in a well-done throwback of a genre I’ve missed.


6 Comments leave one →
  1. windi permalink
    February 26, 2010 7:34 am

    I wasn’t even considering seeing this movie, I just assumed it would be lousy. Glad to hear it’s not, because I like Bruce Willis! LOL I doubt I’ll go see it at the theatre, but it sounds like a great rental later on down the road….

  2. February 27, 2010 2:15 am

    Thanks for the review David. The trailer concerned me since it didn’t seem that funny. Your review has me excited about this one again. I’ll def. be checking it out.

    • David J. Fowlie permalink*
      February 27, 2010 11:49 am

      It’s definitely not for those who can’t stand Morgan. I find it funny that it’s getting railed by critics. What are they expecting?

      • windi permalink
        March 25, 2010 6:17 pm

        I don’t even know who Morgan is…what else has he been in?

  3. David J. Fowlie permalink*
    March 26, 2010 1:19 am

    Tracey Morgan had a long run on SNL, has done some movies, but really came into his own on NBC’s 30 Rock.


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