The film winks at the audience for 110 minutes
Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis, 'Cop Out'
The film winks at the audience for 110 minutes. Tracy Morgan plays the motormouth
NYPD detective partner of Bruce Willis. Now: There's no reason these two couldn't headline a perfectly proficient action comedy in the realm of "Beverly Hills Cop" or "48 HRS." or "Lethal Weapon" or "Running Scared" or "Red Heat" or "Freebie and the Bean" or "Tango & Cash" or "Turner & Hooch" or "Pride and Prejudice." But this is a lousy, invention-free script, and Kevin Smith -- an interesting and valuable filmmaker here doing his first direction-only work for hire -- cannot do anything to save it. His directorial personality is not to be found.
The film makes you appreciate Walter Hill's "48 HRS." and Martin Brest's "Beverly Hills Cop" all the more. Both those pictures were nothing more than canny, hard-charging, volatile commercial entertainments, but by placing Eddie Murphy in the middle of The Usual, the formula got a right old shaking-up. Also, Hill and Brest could shape and finesse an action sequence. Smith can do many things, and has, in "Clerks" and "Dogma" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" and others. But R-rated action in the service of a conventional plot and marketable slaughter isn't yet in his skill set.
Willis' Jimmy and Morgan's Paul chase down Latino gangsters and scurry after Jimmy's purloined baseball card, the one he's cashing in to pay for his daughter's $48,000 wedding. (Seems like a dumb way to spend $48,000, but then, I'm not a working-class NYPD detective.) Seann William Scott has a couple of excruciating scenes as a trash-talking punk whom the boys take for a drag across a gravel road. In the '70s, the era of "Freebie and the Bean," the guy would've been dead in a minute; here, it's sort of a joke and sort of not. And that's "Cop Out" in a nutshell. Only "Beverly Hills Cop" composer Harold Faltermeyer's uber-'80s synthesizer score brings back the old ... well, not "magic," exactly, but the old style.
MPAA rating: R (for pervasive language including sexual references, violence and brief sexuality)
Cast: Bruce Willis (Jimmy Monroe); Tracy Morgan (Paul Hodges); Adam Brody (Barry Mangold); Kevin Pollak (Hunsaker); Guillermo Diaz (Poh Boy); Ana de la Reguera (Gabriela); Seann William Scott (Dave); Rashida Jones (Debbie)
Credits: Directed by Kevin Smith; written by Robb Cullen and Mark Cullen; produced by Marc Platt, Polly Johnsen and Michael Tadross. A Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Running time: 1:50