Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cop Out (*1/2)

Cop Out. 110 mins. R. Directed by Kevin Smith. Written by Robb Cullen & Mark Cullen. Starring Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Rashida Jones, Juan Carlos Hernandez, Kevin Pollak, Adam Brody, and Seann William Scott.

Admittedly, I am a sucker for buddy cop action pics. They don't even have to be good - as long as the casting is inspired, the quips are frequent, and the action is believable, I'll probably enjoy it. Heck, Bad Boys and The Last Boy Scout are two of my favorite movies. When I heard that Kevin Smith was taking on his first work-for-hire directing gig, and that it would be a comedic parody/homage of '80s action comedies - with Bruce Willis starring(!) no less - I was pumped. So, it saddens me to report that Cop Out (or its other title A Couple of Dicks) is a total lemon. Where to begin? Let's start with the screenwriters. They've crafted a story built around a missing baseball card. Yup, that's about all there is conflict-wise. Willis wants to get the card back so he can pay for his daughter's $50,000 wedding. Look, I know that this plot is purposely kept simple and unobtrusive to allow for more comedy, but that assumes that there's actually something, you know, funny. The dialogue here is beyond lame - Morgan and Willis talk endlessly around each other, never saying anything funny and seemingly forced to make dumb oral sex jokes every other minute. Next - the acting. Tracy Morgan is a funny guy in small doses, but he simply cannot act. And when he has to carry scenes on his own and play real emotions, Cop Out fails. Willis? He's just phoning it in and could care less. Last, the direction. Smith has never been a strong visual stylist - his gift lies in the written word, but even in a movie like this, which has only three action scenes, he has no idea how to stage them. The action sucks and the pacing is sloppy. C'mon! These are not hard movies to make! The only saving grace, and the reason I'm giving Cop Out an extra half-star is Seann William Scott. He steals every scene he's in and gives the movie a boost whenever he's on screen, which is not nearly enough. A huge disappointment.

- John


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