Cop Out


Buddy cop comedies don’t get much respect, but I personally have much fondness for them. This, like my love of one-man-army action flicks, is obviously related to the fact that, as a child of the 1980s, I grew up watching them. Now, the godfather of this subgenre has got to be “48 Hours”, which was soon followed by “Beverly Hills Cop” (also starring Eddie Murphy) and many others. To me, though, when I think of buddy cop movies, what instantly comes to mind is the “Lethal Weapon” series. It doesn’t get much better than the pairing of Murtaugh and Riggs, now, does it?

Apparently, I’m not the only one who’s fond of this kind of films, as we’ve seen various revivals over the years (“Bad Boys”, “Rush Hour”, etc.), and even outright homages (“It is not stealing, it’s called homage!”) to them such as this here “Cop Out”, which went as far as hiring composer Harold Faltermeyer (“Beverly Hills Cop”, “Fletch”, “Tango & Cash”) to do the cheesy synth-pop score. That’s commitment!

As directed by Kevin Smith, who for the first time is helming a movie he didn’t also write (the screenplay is by Mark & Robb Cullen), “Cop Out” is a most fun throwback to 1980s action comedies. It’s not as great as Edgar Wright’s “Hot Fuzz” or David Gordon Green’s “Pineapple Express” but, in a way, that’s a good thing. Those films were kinda too clever and well directed, they transcended their influences and became their own thing. Whereas save for the use of cell phones and things like that, “Cop Out” could pretty much pass exactly for one of those movies from back in the day, warts and all.

Not so much hero detectives as “a couple of dicks” (the film’s original title), Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) and Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan) are mismatched partners who are always arguing, even though they’re truly fond of each other; they’re like an old married couple. Their routine is shaken up though when, after a particularly messy operation, their Stupid Chief suspends them, taking away their guns and badges and, most irksomely, their pay.

What follows is a thoroughly preposterous story involving a stolen baseball card, a Latino drug lord (Guillermo Diaz) and a kidnapped woman (Ana de la Reguera). Jimmy and Paul also have to deal with two of their asshole colleagues (Kevin Pollack and Adam Brody), an obnoxious thief (Seann William Scott, who just about steals the film), and some personal issues involving their wives (ex-wife in Jimmy’s case).

All of which is pretty much just an excuse for a whole lot of goofy shit involving various amusing characters, plus the occasional chase, fight and shoot-out. Said action scenes aren’t astounding or anything, but they have a nice energy to them and things get surprisingly rough at times.

In any case, what matters the most is whether or not the film’s funny and believe me, it is. Even though Kevin Smith didn’t write the script, his wonderfully vulgar and juvenile sense of humor still seems to come through, dick jokes and all. He also got some hilarious performances from Willis and Morgan, who play really well off each other. So much so that I’d be happy to watch them go at it again in a “Cop Out” sequel or two.