Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: Cop Out (2010) TH

Oh, buddy, more coppers

Brooklyn police detectives Jimmy (Bruce Willis) and Paul (Tracy Morgan) have been together as partners for the NYPD for 9 years, until they get suspended for 30 days without pay as per a botched sting operation involving Mexican drug dealers, excessive force and now an unusable informant. Jimmy's daughter is getting married and instead of letting his ex-wife's wealthy, condescending husband Roy (Jason Lee) foot the bill, he volunteers despite having no income for the next month and nothing to his name besides a very expensive, one-of-a-kind Andy Pafko baseball card.

This jumps over to a subplot that ties into the very reason they got suspended when the card gets stolen. They dodge giving information to the arch rival detectives Mangold and Hunsaker--who are constantly give them sarcastic flack for being screw ups--and decide to follow up the leads on their own. After getting some information off an effeminate cat burglar, who doesn't know when to shut up, they end up at the crib of the Catholic, murdering-dudes-left-and-right gang leader named Poh Boy who's got a posse that's armed to the teeth like a bunch of modern outlaw bandidos. The intimidating and potentially loco man named after a sandwich negotiates a deal that if they can get back his Mercedes Benz from some elusive guys who stole it then he'll hand over the card. Though a simple transaction turns into a fiasco that involves a growing list of illegal activities that these honest cops can't look the other way on.

"Cop Out" is a from-one-thing-to-another type movie, where the plot is loose and the players throw out some banter for the meantime. Problem is the story isn't note worthy and on top of that the chemistry between Willis and Morgan feels hit and miss, not to mention they frequently jump in and out of character. Ana de la Reguera as Gabriela is cute and likable, and the gang leader, played by Guillermo Diaz, is brutal to the point of exaggeration but also brings a certain on-screen presence just to see his next move. This isn't just a basic movie, it's a movie that doesn't hold that much power over its audience: they don't capitalize on what to root for, they don't take advantage of relating factors, there's nothing of value to polish with upkeep, light on mystery, small surprises, nothing to learn and repeat, little on growth, not as big on action and this produces superficial rewards--exhales. The one thing it does have is some nostalgia going on: '80s synthesizer music mixed with other radio hits, as well as more references to other movies than one can count. It plays on the cult, but doesn't produce a following itself.

This is purposely derivative and what makes it trip over its own shoelaces is it never fully crosses back over to walk with its own gait. "Lethal Weapon" and "Rush Hour" played on the tried-and-true and had their cliches as well, but still added some other elements to make the experience have their own distinctions to go back to. This is the second chance I've given this--being a fan of some of Kevin Smith and Bruce Willis' work--with the first time being okay if nothing special, but on the second time the slap stick jokes wear thin and have a shelf life of one time use with some currently having a stale taste as is. After awhile "Cop Out" feels like it's dragging through the mud as what's displayed isn't producing anything that's exceptional, even by simple escapism standards. For shame.

Director: Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma, Zack and Miri Make a Porno)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Guillermo Diaz, Ana de la Reguera, Jason Lee, Kevin Pollak, Michelle Trachtenberg
Website: IMDB