Cop Out 3/4
Warner Bros, Rated R
Not exactly a law-enforcement match made in heaven, Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan as a devilishly delightful down-and-dirty detective duo in Cop Out aren’t that bad, either. Add to the bawdy brew director Kevin Smith, who releases the couple’s inner zany outlaws, and Cop Out is, well, a bit like Clerks with badges.
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Morgan is Paul Hodges, an NYPD undercover loon with such a deeply embedded identity crisis related to policing that he resorts to plagiarizing his unorthodox perp interrogation techniques from crime movies. Paired up with precinct prankster Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis), Hodges is sent out on a surveillance assignment disguised as a giant cell phone, in order to corner a cutthroat Mexican drug gang operating in the vicinity but about to go national.
But running interference on their already questionable pooled investigative skills are family problems on the home front, which come to light while solving the riddle of a suspect pair of endangered species sea turtle designer boots on a fresh corpse. For divorced Monroe, it’s his daughter’s upcoming wedding that he can’t afford and her filthy rich step-dad who can swing the bill. For Hodges, it’s an obsession over his wife’s suspect infidelity, though he’s got a surveillance camera disguised as a stuffed teddy bear on the case. To further complicate the ensuing predicaments, the partners get stuck with—not to mention nearly upstaged by—deliberately echolalic thief Dave (American Pie’s Seann William Scott), who’s just pilfered Monroe’s vintage baseball card that could have paid for that wedding.
Cop Out is written and executive produced by small-screen satirical sitcom siblings Robb and Mark Cullen. And while Mark studied for his Masters under left theoretician legend Howard Zinn, which really hasn’t anything to do with the gist of this script, Robb, on the other hand, is described in the press material as, “a high-functioning moron with a bulldog named Mrs. Butterworth and a slight gambling problem,” who teamed up with his somewhat more esteemed sibling, not unlike say, the Willis and Morgan potty mouth patrol, to address bail bondsman financial issues.
Cop Out doesn’t disappoint, with its telltale signs of Smith’s fingerprints and trademark salacious verbal sparring all over this production, the action sequences, along with jabs at Mexicans a bit too heavy on the salsa, earn the director substantial demerits, especially when it comes to overly stretched-out chase scenes that seriously slow down whenever they should be speeding up.
Smith, it goes without saying, tends to be a not necessarily healthy acquired taste, best summed up by Morgan when he gushes affectionately in one scene, “I love you like a fat kid loves cake.” As for the writing and producing duo, as one character in Cop Out puts it, “Way to go, Sherlocks!”