Film Review: Cop Out

When you go out to a restaurant and have a wonderful meal, there is a lot that goes into getting that meal into your stomach. The ingredients need to be prepared properly by a cook and then cooked to the specifications that the entrée calls for, then the wait staff has to deliver the food to you so you can eat it and savor its supreme goodness. The same goes for a film, the actors and script are the ingredients, the director is the cook and the movie theater is the wait staff. And just like a meal can go wrong, so can a film.

Cop Out is one of those films that seemingly has all the parts in place to deliver a fantastic viewing experience, it stars Bruce Willis, in the familiar feeling role of New York Police Detective Jimmy Monroe and Tracy Morgan as his partner, and comic foil, Paul Hodges. It has popular, comedy director Kevin Smith behind the lens. And it has one hell of a great soundtrack but instead of delivering savory goodness on the big screen it delivers a tired experience that just is not funny.

A lot of the blame falls on the script. It tries so hard to be funny, while paying homage to past films in the genre but the jokes generally just fall flat. Comedy is a highly subjective issue, so some people are going to walk out of this film having laughed their head off, one person in our theater did and I am happy they got something out of their ticket price. However, I personally did not get it and Cop Out now holds the distinction of being one of only five films I have ever even contemplated walking out on.

The script and overall writing of the film were not the only pieces of Cop Out I took issue with though. The action scenes seemed to be happening in slow motion. The editing, which was handled by Smith himself, was choppy and all over the place. And Tracy Morgan is so over-the-top that his character actually became unbelievable which hurts the overall chemistry of the movie.

Not everything in the film is terrible though as there are a couple bright spots that got me through the film. Firstly the cameo by Jason Lee as the rich step-father to Monroe’s soon to be married daughter is fantastic. Willis and Lee really nail the scene they are in out of the park. Secondly Sean William Scott is comedic gold. Every time he is on screen I laughed, sadly despite the trailers making it seem like he is the third star of the film he has about 10 minutes of total screen time over the 107 minute running time.

I have to say I was really pulling for Cop Out to be good. It is set in a genre I have a lot of love for, it stars an icon of that genre and it is directed by one of my favorite directors out there. But I just did not get it. I did not find it funny and actually I found it difficult to watch because it seemed so amateurish despite the pedigree of those involved in the production. If this is the level of quality Smith’s films that he doesn’t write is going to be at, I hope he returns to “indie” work for his next film because he is a better director than what Cop Out demonstrates.

1 out of 5

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