Movie Review: Let’s Be Cops
Stars: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr., Rob Riggle, Andy Garcia, Nina Dobrev, Keegan Michael-Key, James D’Arcy
Rated R for language including sexual references, some graphic nudity, violence and drug use, Running time 104 minutes, Action/Comedy
Compare to: Cop Out (2010), The Other Guys (2010)
Of all the buddy cop comedies, this one has the least “cop” in it. Car chases, explosions, gun fights, and all the other things that make movie cops the hero are subtly subverted as two losers try and get the perks without doing the work.
Tired of feeling like nobodies, roommates Ryan and Justin go to a costume party one night dressed as cops and people don’t immediately recognize the facade, which is all the incentive the two need to keep the charade up. But while the two buddies have their fun, some of their actions have unintended consequences when a local mob boss begins to take notice of some of their faux-cop activities.
People who want to watch this shouldn’t be disappointed though putting it bluntly, you won’t get anymore than you bargained for. Watching Johnson and Wayans parade as cops to lightly bully everybody around them is entertaining and a little aggravating in some ways, considering how often real-life cops have abused their power in many of the same ways Ryan and Justin create their power here.
When it comes to Comedy, there’s often an imbalance of story and comedy that leans toward more improvisation between actors that makes us lose focus of where the story is going. Others will have the plot stretched so thin that we lose sight of the fun we’re supposed to be having while watching it. And while Cops doesn’t suffer from either of those problems, it does work through much of the same old plot we’ve seen before with our two bumbling heroes accidentally foiling a mastermind criminal’s ploy to do whatever criminal things he does. And of course, at least one has got to be in a potential relationship. Gotta have that, don’t we?
Johnson and Wayans’ characters are pretty much the white and black Harold and Kumar but even straight man Wayans gets to play up to his extroverted side occasionally. Though he’s more reluctant to masquerade as police officers, he retains a comedic edge for scenes that other films in the similar vein might make less use of his character.
One thing I would have wished for this movie was for it to take a more aggressive approach a la Hot Fuzz to it’s action rather than stick to the tried-and-true method of Buddy Cop Comedies. Not to say that it feels stale, but you’ll only be surprised by a few gags rather than where the movie actually takes you.
Positives: Johnson and Wayans each get their moments, nothing is so out of whack that you feel bored or unentertained.
Negatives: Follows a certain narrative you already feel familiar with leaving you with few surprises, Many acts performed by main characters are just as annoying as they are funny considering much of law enforcement’s actual record.