Similar to the blend of action and comedy found in last year’s Pineapple Express, Cop Out finds a happier medium between the two genres, but also doesn’t offer the unexpectedness of role reversals. Bruce Willis lends his typical cop persona, wisecracking intermittently while shooting his gun and Tracy Morgan attempts the foul-mouthed prankster, but only succeeds some of the time. The terribly stereotypical and far too over-the-top villain hurts the film almost as much as those that betray him and comes dangerously close to cancelling out the childishly hilarious turn from Seann William Scott as a parkour practicing master thief with a penchant for knock-knock jokes.
Two of Brooklyn’s finest – or perhaps worst – Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) and Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan) have enjoyed nine years as partners on the force, a feat quite amazing considering their unorthodox police tactics. Their latest blundered undercover job finds them suspended for one month without pay, a major problem for Jimmy who desperately needs the money to pay for his daughter’s wedding. When his contingency plan – a baseball card worth $80,000 – gets stolen, Jimmy and Paul track down the thief and unwittingly get drawn into a dangerous drug kingpin’s plot to expand his business. With hostages, murderers, unfaithful wives, and giant cell phone suits all on the line, the reckless duo will do whatever it takes to serve and protect – and get back their sports collectible.
Riggs and Murtaugh they are not. Bruce Willis is almost always watchable, but even in this mess it’s a struggle to appreciate his skills as a macho tough-guy, even though he plays the same character he’s portrayed in his last few films. And Morgan channels Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Chris Tucker, as the loud, fast-talking, over-exaggerating, spittle-dousing wisecracker who is supposed to be comic relief. Unfortunately he fails, appearing as a rip-off more than an equal. Considering almost every character in the film is used for comedy at some point, his sarcastic sidekick appeal is greatly deadened. And despite the lengthy discussion the duo has at the beginning, the excuse of “homage” for all the lines of dialogue and ideas the film recycles isn’t convincing either.
It’s good to see Kevin Smith try something different, but without his dialogue, it doesn’t really feel like a Kevin Smith film. And it practically isn’t. Although the pop culture-heavy director finally gets to shoot some scenes of action, he didn’t write the screenplay, and most of the presumably Smith-influenced rapid-fire lingo was improvised. The film deals in excesses, from the obnoxiously immature conversations to the ridiculously overblown villain, to the unlikely close-quarters shootouts. Perhaps the biggest fault is the lack of chemistry between Willis and Morgan. Each seems to be doing their own thing; almost every moment the two appear onscreen they act like they’re in different movies. They never give the impression of being right together and they aren’t credible buddies, which causes the few entertaining moments to feel similarly haphazard.
– The Massie Twins (GoneWithTheTwins.com)