Wednesday, March 24, 2010



COP OUT is an extremely light, low-violence, high-profanity buddy cop film. It has all of the well-lubricated trappings of a Saturday night TV movie. This film is so trite and inconsequential that there isn’t much that can be said for or against it. The plot, one-liners, and silly circumstances are all so simple that it is work to remember any of them even directly after viewing the film. Even the soundtrack is horribly worn-out, featuring the Beastie Boys’ NO SLEEP TILL BROOKLYN and Poison’s EVERY ROSE HAS ITS THORN. Part of the truth behind this film’s shortcomings is the title of the production, “COP OUT,” which admits to blatant carelessness as the excuse for the end product. Another part is that the script was penned by television writers Rob and Mark Cullen. The essence of COP OUT is as follows: fanboy favorite Kevin Smith directs, Bruce Willis scowls, and Tracy Morgan hams it up.

For fans of Tracy Morgan, COP OUT has several enjoyable moments. Morgan’s random-assed, profane shtick is the glue that holds the film together. He is a good-humored slob in this film, perpetually wiping his nose, drooling, and having food fall out of his mouth. As a movie-quote obsessed law enforcement misfit named Paul Hodges, Tracy Morgan hits the notes he always hits. During the entire film, Hodges obsesses over his wife Debbie (Rashida Jones) and whether or not she is sleeping with his smarmy neighbor. Hodges is very clear about his love for her, saying such sappy lines as, “You got me open like a research monkey.”

But, Morgan is just doing Morgan here. In fact, it is a matter of time before someone makes a fan-film of COP OUT using Morgan’s SNL and 30 ROCK material because less the profanity, all elements of Morgan’s performance in COP OUT have been presented before. The notion that Morgan has been a NYPD officer for almost a decade is completely ludicrous. But with a title like COP OUT, what is to be expected?

Much as Morgan recycles his schtick in COP OUT, Bruce Willis as Jimmy Monroe delivers a pastiche of Willis doing Willis. He plays Morgan’s partner and “straight guy” in this comedy, managing to deliver a sleepwalking John McClane from DIE HARD. Monroe isn’t as hyper as John McClane, and he isn’t as hung over as 16 BLOCKS’ Jack Mosely, but he is all Willis. He is once again a snide, bullet-headed tough-guy who resists any and all that hold any authority over him. His most serious nemesis is the rich, smug bastard Roy (Jason Lee) who married Monroe’s ex-wife. Willis is looking weary in this role, and when a young red-handed perpetrator refers to Monroe as a “Professor X looking motherf*cker,” he isn’t far off the mark.

COP OUT’s plot is loosely built around a tazer-happy robbery that ends with the loss of Jimmy Monroe’s prized collectable baseball card. Monroe was going to cash in the card to pay for his daughter’s wedding. Earlier in the film, Roy egotistically offered to pay for the wedding, but Monroe’s pride is what drives the plot. Monroe and Hodges are both on a 30 day suspension for some Youtube shenanigans and have nothing better to do than to track down the thief. Dave (Seann William Scott) provides a lot of Ritalin flavored humor as the completely imbalanced thief of the aforementioned card.

Monroe and Hodges eventually track the card down to baseball paraphernalia obsessed gangster Poh Boy (played by a seriously typecast Guillermo Diaz). Poh Boy is a local Mexican gangster that holds court in a Catholic church and torments his victims with baseballs cracked at them with his Louisville Slugger. There is also a stolen Mercedes and a different kidnapped Mexican gangster’s mistress in the mix. A lot of coincidence and a lot of law-breaking force Monroe and Hodges into business with Poh Boy, and the silliness remains constant.

With a borderline brilliant performance by a patently foul-mouthed Susie Essman and an obnoxious turn by Kevin Pollack, COP OUT has all of the potential to be something really funny. But unfortunately, a lot of the humor in this film fizzles. Most of the jokes are smile but not laugh-worthy.

This is definitely a buddy-cop film though and has all of the trappings of such classics as the James Caan/Alan Arkin classic FREEBIE AND THE BEAN, the Gregory Hines /Billy Crystal RUNNING SCARED, or even a ridiculously fluffy LETHAL WEAPON. But the end product is buoyed by nothing. The action is minimal, the jokes are more miss than hit, and a strange sort of goofiness takes the center stage with such antics as a car chase through a graveyard and a demonstration of a parkour fail.

I think that the biggest question in the minds of most people who watch this film will be “what was Kevin Smith thinking?” There are one or two moments in this film that feel completely Smithian, but COP OUT feels mostly like a bloated, generic production that could have been helmed by any number of moderately talented directors.

COP OUT could easily be interpreted as the final demonstration of Smith selling out. Add this to his over-the-top milking of his fat-boy chastising on Southwest Airlines, and it is safe to say that he’s just taken the easy road this time around. COP OUT is nothing special; it is a bland diversion at best. All of the familiar pieces are in place, but it is nothing more than a late-night mediocre TV movie with a creative assortment of profanity.

-Mediasaurus Rex

Pics, discussion and more in the COP OUT Thread in the Mediasaurs Forum


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