Cop Out follows Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) and Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan), two NYPD detectives, as they hunt down Jimmy's rare 1952 Andy Pafko baseball card, which was stolen before he could sell it to pay for his daughter's wedding. It's a silly plot, but for a buddy cop flick, it works. Unfortunately, little else does.
You know those movies where most of the funny material was shown in the promotional trailers? Cop Out is one of those movies. There will be a few funny scenes or lines that you haven't seen or heard, but the funniest moments were proudly displayed in the previews and a few good bits didn't even make it to the final product. The real laughs are sparsely scattered throughout the movie. It tries to be funny throughout, it just fails. Sadly, that's worse than not trying at all, because it makes you aware of exactly what the film failed at.
There's a bit where Paul is standing outside a cell phone store, dressed as a giant cell phone, while he waits for a perp to enter the store and make a drop. The scene starts out amusing, with Paul shouting at costumers and clumsily flipping a "free cell phone" sign around in his hands. Then, when the suspect gets spooked and makes a break for it, Paul takes off after him, still in the cell phone costume. Later, when they're getting berated by their Captain for going in without backup, Paul is still in his cell phone costume. We get it: giant cell phone costumes are goofy.
Tracy Morgan is a well-known funny man from TV's 30 Rock and Bruce Willis can definitely hold his own when it comes to comedy, but the real stars here are Adam Brody and Kevin Pollak as Mangold and Hunsaker, two "rival" detectives that are odd, funny, and have far too little screen time. Pollak's Hunsaker has an affinity for boots and it seems to rub off on Brody's Mangold, making for one of the funniest running gags in the movie. In fact, every scene with these two is absolute gold, which makes me wish they were bankable enough to headline the movie themselves.
The films second biggest fault (although the lack of laughs alone kills it) is the choppy editing. The pacing moves at breakneck speed in a film that doesn't need or benefit from it at all. It seems that each and every scene is cut away from the instant the dialogue stops, letting nothing linger and leaving you feeling a little discombobulated after a while. It makes me wonder if Kevin Smith had to hit a specific runtime, down to the minute. I wonder if he succeeded.
I read somewhere that Kevin Smith was attracted to the project not just out of a desire to work with Bruce Willis but also because the Cullen brothers, who wrote the film, put a lot of focus on dialogue. This is true, and the scenes with Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan conversing about everyday life are usually the funnier scenes, but they're too few and far in between all of the slapsticky, over-the-top moments that don't really work.
Cop Out isn't the worst comedy ever made, but it isn't good, by any stretch of the imagination, and is a black mark for all the people involved. It's a throwback to buddy cop movies that reminds us why buddy cop movies aren't very good.
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