Good Cop/Goofy Cop

COP OUT (Dir. Kevin Smith, 2010)

“It’s a homage.” So says goofy rubber faced plainclothes cop Tracy Morgan of his unorthodox interrogation methods to his partner of 9 years, a stonewalling yet smirking Bruce Willis. These methods are going to be familiar to anyone who’s ever watched 30 Rock – Morgan does his patented crazy shtick.

As Willis watches through a one way mirror, Morgan freaks out their suspect by yielding a gun and yelling movie quotes like “they call me Mister Tibbs,” and “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for” even going for “Yippeekiyay, motherfucker!”

Willis, in his definitively detached manner, says: “I never saw that movie.”

If that sounds funny to you, ignore the rest of this review and go see this movie – more such supposedly uproarious self-aware referencing awaits.

Cool, now that those people are gone I can tell the rest of you that this is one painfully unfunny film. Though it wasn’t written by Kevin Smith (the screenplay is by Robb and Mark Cullen) it feels like it was in the worst way – at Smith’s most hammiest and hackiest. It strains with every cut to elicit laughs, but cringes are what result from this tired and truly tiresome material.

What there is of a premise involves Mexican gangsters headed by Guillermo Diaz, Seann William Scott as an annoying thief, and a stolen baseball card worth 80 thousand dollars. The card belonged to Willis, who was hoping to use it to pay for his daughter’s (Michelle Trachtenberg) dream wedding. Otherwise Smith regular Jason Lee as Willis’ wife’s smarmy new husband will pay for it and humiliate him. Ho hum.

Morgan meanwhile deals with his wife’s (Rashida Jones) possible infidelity with a neighbor by placing a nanny cam in a teddy bear in their bedroom. So both cops drive around Brooklyn from one poorly constructed plot point to another bitching about these hardships
while barely creating an audible chuckle from the audience.

One of the only inspired elements present is the soundtrack. It was a savvy move to employ famed electronic composer Harold Faltermeyer to do the score. His “Axel F”-ish waves of synthesizer and jaunty rhythms work better than anything else in the film to capture the genre aesthetic. A new Patti LaBelle song (“Soul Brothers”) accompanying the end credits also hammers home the 80’s mindset.

You’re better off sticking with watching Morgan on 30 Rock from which he even does some of the same lines (“you’re sweet like bear meat”) and renting HOT FUZZ if you haven’t seen it. Now there’s a sharp satire of the buddy cop action movies.

COP OUT is a lot like Morgan’s misunderstanding (and mis-pronouncing) the word “homage” – it’s not a send up or anything close to a fresh take on the formula, it’s just formula.

More later…

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