Review: Cop Out

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Ah, the homage. What’s better than seeing a couple of great actors pay tribute to some of the most enjoyable movies of twenty years ago? Whether it’s done with a mocking tone or a loving one, the 2000s made one thing clear: movie audiences love imitation of the 80s and 90s.

Cop Out is one such imitation, done in the most loving way possible. It pays tribute to the great buddy cop movies of the 80s and 90s, and as such, it should be great. But it isn’t. It’s actually quite terrible.

How can such a loving homage go so terribly wrong?Â

Ah, the homage. What's better than seeing a couple of great actors pay tribute to some of the most enjoyable movies of twenty years ago? Whether it's done with a mocking tone or a loving one, the 2000s made one thing clear: movie audiences love imitation of the 80s and 90s.

Cop Out is one such imitation, done in the most loving way possible. It pays tribute to the great buddy cop movies of the 80s and 90s, and as such, it should be great. But it isn't. It's actually quite terrible.

How can such a loving homage go so terribly wrong? {{page_break}}

Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan (or is it Jordan? Who can keep that straight anymore?) star as a couple of partners in the police force who find themselves suspended after a sting gone wrong. In fact, it goes especially wrong, landing Willis's prized baseball card in the hands of the thief. To get it back, they'll have to battle one of the city's most fearsome gangs.

Nothing about this story provides even the slightest bit of entertainment. The plot is so unrepentantly similar to buddy cop movies of the past that you'll wonder if you're actually watching a direct remake. You aren't: you're just watching a movie with a bad plot.

The stale, lazy characters don't help matters. Both Willis and Morgan play characters with no real depth, especially in the case of Morgan, who seems to be stuck in a character that desperately wants to be something other than his 30 Rock character, but isn't at all. Aside from delivering some of the film's few amusing lines, Morgan takes his dopey but endearing shtick to new heights, which is to say, new lows. It's not that his performances are totally off the mark — they're just not funny.

The film's true crime is just that: it is not funny. Kevin Smith directs, who is known for some of the funnier films of the 90s and early 2000s, but his directorial influence seems to have had little effect on Cop Out. Sure, there are one or two signature "dick and fart" jokes, which Smith himself has stated are his forte. But this is, quite literally, the only value of the film. The only thing this movie has going for it is a couple of decent "dick and fart" jokes. 

Yikes.

Amazingly, even the action sequences in the film manage to do nothing to provide excitement to the audience. The film's graveyard summarizes the film's action quite nicely: it's filmed in the most pedestrian manner possible. In essence, the car chase involves nothing more than one car driving quickly in pursuit of another with people shooting at each other. There aren't any impressive maneuvers or shocking crashes. You'll see more spectacular chases by browsing YouTube.

It's hard to find any reason to recommend Cop Out. It's a low point for director Kevin Smith, and while Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, and the supporting cast don't do anything egregious to the overall experience, they don't help it much either. It's a script that couldn't have been saved: a buddy cop movie that omits everything great about buddy cop movies and does a disservice to the art of the homage.

Overall Score: 4.30 – Terrible. (4s are terrible in many ways. They’re bad enough that even diehard fans of its genre, director, or cast still probably won’t enjoy it at all, and everyone else will leave the theater incredibly angry. Not only are these not worth renting, you should even change the TV channel on them in the future.)  

Remember how great buddy cop movies were? If you value those memories at all, don't see Cop Out, which does almost nothing to successfully pay tribute to the great buddy cop films of the past thirty years. It's also just a bad film.