Cop Out, a movie that should not work, but does
From the very first scene (as ridiculous as it is), Cop Out is hilarious in all the ways a good, old-fashioned buddy-cop flick should be. The unlikely matching of Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan and director Kevin Smith works like a charm.
Chock-full of genre clichés, the latest from director Smith (the first time the Clerks creator has directed a script he didn’t pen) is simultaneously smart and low-brow. Perhaps that’s why many critics have panned it while at the same time awarding it three stars. The film shouldn’t work, you see, but it pulls itself together.
Willis plays Jimmy, a divorced detective whose daughter is getting married in a matter of weeks. Morgan is Paul, Jimmy’s longtime partner, who is hopelessly insecure about his wife’s fidelity. A botched drug bust sends the pair onto probation, without pay, something Jimmy can’t afford with a wedding on the horizon.
All this drama is delivered in a perfectly cheeseball manner (down to the ’80s synth-music), an homage, if you will, to all buddy-cop movies.
Not wanting to disappoint his daughter, Jimmy decides to sell his prized possession (a collectable baseball card) for the money he’ll need to pay for the wedding. That’s when all hell breaks loose, putting the pair in the middle of a world of drug dealers, thieves and kidnappers. Let the car chases and hijinx ensue.
Morgan, his usual oddball self, is crazy-funny here, especially when countered by Willis’ more mature, calm demeanor. The pairing shouldn’t work—it’s ridiculous, really—but the script (written by Robb and Mark Cullen) is strong enough, and Smith is smart enough, to pull it off.
To round out the cast, Seann William Scott appears as a seriously annoying (but oh-so-funny) burglar obsessed with parkour (acrobatically maneuvering one’s way through urban environments) and knock-knock jokes, Guillermo Díaz (Weeds) plays a bad-ass drug dealer with a love of baseball, and Ana de la Reguera (Nacho Libre) plays a Mexican prized witness who doesn’t speak a lick of English. Throw Adam Brody and Kevin Pollack into the mix as rival cops, and it’s quite a cast of characters.
There aren’t many movies that make people laugh not only in the theater—but also all the way home from the theater and then later that night. Cop Out may not be sophisticated humor, and it certainly won’t win any Oscars, but it sure struck my funny bone.