Sunday, February 28, 2010

Movie with Abe: Cop Out

Cop Out
Directed by Kevin Smith
Released February 26, 2010

This is not the film it could have been, by any stretch of the imagination. Action-comedies featuring cops have succeeded sometimes in the past, with “Bad Boys” and “Rush Hour” standing out as good enough to earn an equally entertaining and funny sequel each. The combination of onetime action hero Bruce Willis and TV funnyman Tracy Morgan in a movie that was originally supposed to be titled “A Couple of Dicks” could have made for comedy gold, but so much went wrong. The movie contains maybe four to five laughs and little to no action, but that quick dismissal of the film as poor doesn’t give it the beating it deserves.

The actors are a major part of the problem. Bruce Willis, who hasn’t exactly made a good movie in the past few years, has completely lost the subtlety of his famous “Die Hard” character John McClane. Now he’s prone to slowly moving his eyes to indicate frustration and bouts of shouting to let all the annoyance boiling within him loose. It’s no surprise that he’d act this way when paired with Tracy Morgan, who is typically out of control and unhinged, playing no one other than himself. When Morgan actually tries to act in one scene, it’s a painful experience.

Shockingly, Willis and Morgan are not the oddest couple in the movie. That dishonor goes to Kevin Pollak (“The Usual Suspects”) and Adam Brody (“The O.C.”) as a rival team of detectives. The actors, besides being 22 years apart in age, should really be doing better things. Even the villain here is terrible. Guillermo Diaz, who played drug dealer Guillermo on the TV show “Weeds” (and not Sucre on “Prison Break,” as one hopelessly confused audience member proudly shouted out when he appeared on screen) has proven that he can play a bad guy. Yet here he dumbs it all down as if he was instructed to match the dismal and unfunny quality of the script.

Though it didn’t have to be excellent, the plot is hopelessly inane and so predictably stupid. The end credits offer a stunning reminder that this is Kevin Smith’s work, an association which will undoubtedly serve as a black mark on his resume going forward. There’s no reason this film had to be this bad, and the pairing of Willis and Morgan alone should have been mildly amusing. This is one of those cases where the bits in the trailer aren’t just the only funny parts in the movie, but they’re not even funny in the movie. Perhaps Smith should have hired an editor other than himself, because the trailer spliced together the same material in an infinitely funnier manner. That comparison holds true for the entire film, and watching the trailer over and over forty-three times to mimic the runtime of the movie is likely to be a more enjoyable experience.


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