Wednesday, 7 July 2010
Ok, so Cop Out looks exactly like a bad 80s buddy cop movie. But let's give the producers some credit here: they at least thought that by teaming Bruce Willis with 30 Rock's Tracy Morgan and director Kevin Smith, somehow some kind of cinematic magic would take place and all the old clapped out buddy cop cliches would magically seem fresh and new. It's not the worst idea to come out of Hollywood... unfortunately, all that results from this wishful thinking is scene after scene after scene that, while sort of entertaining individually, soon take on a dully predictable rhythm as it becomes obvious that there are no surprises whatsoever on offer here.
The story itself ticks over nicely, as Jim (Willis) and his partner Paul (Morgan) run around Brooklyn trying to retrieve Jim's fifty thousand dollar baseball card and maybe take down a Mexican crime lord on the side. At first, seeing Morgan doing his patented stream‑of‑consciousness yammering as a cop is kind of funny (the opening interrogation scene where his 'bad cop' act consists of ripped off lines from every movie ever made is pretty good), until it turns out that this movie has nothing else for him to do. Willis, on the other hand, just gets to be the same tough guy / angry dad (he's selling the baseball card so he, and not his daughter's sleazy stepfather, can pay for her wedding) that he always plays. Basically, Willis plays his Die Hard character and Morgan plays his 30 Rock character, only Cop Out is nowhere near as exciting or funny as either. The only high point is Seann William Scott as the world's most annoying cat burglar, and even his big scene is a throwaway one.
Kevin Smith does a surprisingly good job as an action director, and if – somehow – you’ve never seen a buddy cop movie before chances are you’ll have a good time here. But seriously, after twenty years of the genre, this brings nothing new to the party – which is also surprising, as you’d expect Smith to try and inject more of his style of humour into proceedings. It's doubtful any film could revive the buddy cop genre at this stage: it's just a shame Cop Out didn't try a little harder.
Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #476)