Review: Let’s Be Cops


I love the Buddy Cop genre. Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop, 21 Jump Street (and its sequel), even Hollywood Homicide. I also love The New Girl. Imagine my surprise and delight when two of the leads from The New Girl were going to appear in a buddy cop movie! Just like 21 Jump Street before it, I loved the trailer for Let’s Be Cops every time I saw it (and considering how many times I watched it on YouTube, that’s saying something).

Did Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. deliver the goods or did they show the best stuff in the trailer? Read on to find out!

Let’s Be Cops
Director: Luke Greenfield
Release Date: August 13, 2014
Rating: R 

Let’s Be Cops follows the misadventures of ne’er-do-well aspiring actor Ryan O’Malley (Johnson) and his best friend and roomate, aspiring video game designer Justin Miller (Wayans), who decide after a masquerade party/ten-year reunion (is this a thing that happens?) involving a pair of very official-looking cop outfits to pretend to be cops. After seeing the benefits that the badge and gun can reap, the duo proceed to make enemies of the sleeziest looking Russian gangster in recent history. Their adventures in breaking the law by pretending to be the law soon escalate as they continue to run afoul of the gangster and his goons.

Like I said above, I adore The New Girl. This is in no small part due to its cast, and especially Jake Johnson. Both he and Damon Wayans Jr. are very funny, and Let’s Be Cops is no exception. Nina Dobrev plays the love interest to Wayans’ character, and plays the role well, but there isn’t a lot of meat to her character. Rob Riggle plays an actual cop, and like anything he’s in, he’s a delightful addition. James D’Arcy plays Mossi, the Russian gangster, and is both menacing and douchey. I felt slimy every time he appeared on screen, and I’m sure that was the point. Keegan-Michael Key, Andy Garcia, and Jon Lajoie all appear as well, and while the first two perform at their usual levels, Lajoie didn’t get enough screentime to be more than Wayans’ jerk boss.

Above all else, Let’s Be Cops is funny. I laughed a lot. The problem is that almost from the get-go, I knew exactly the route this film was going to take. Obviously, things will escalate until they find themselves fighting for their lives (spoiler?). The important thing is how they get there. Unfortunately, director Luke Greenfield and co-writer Nicholas Thomas took the road most traveled. At least they kept the jokes coming at a steady clip.

Let’s Be Cops is good. There’s not much else to say about it than that. It certainly isn’t bad, but it’s definitely not great. There aren’t really any surprises or anything I hadn’t seen before (although I don’t think I’ve ever seen Keegan-Michael Key in dreadlocks, to be fair). It could’ve been a lot worse, as a matter of fact. Adam Sandler and Kevin James could have played the main characters. That would’ve been terrible. Fortunately, Johnson and Wayans have a practiced chemistry and they make impersonating civil servants look good.

If the third installment of a gratuitous actionfest staring every action hero of all time isn’t your thing, Let’s Be Cops is certainly a good Plan B.