PHOTO BY 20TH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
LET’S BE COPS
Where is it playing?: Park, Stadium 10
What's it rated?: R
What's it worth?: $3.00
When two friends (Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr.) dress as cops for a costume party, the reaction they get from those around them convinces them to keep up the charade, but soon they’re involved with real cops, real crime, and real danger. (104 min.)
Let’s Be Cops seems like it has all the makings of a summer movie hit. Marketable co-stars who are relatively attractive? Check. Screwball comedy elements? Check. Leering bad guys and a blushing damsel-in-distress? Double check. But not surprisingly, in spite of all these attributes, the movie just doesn’t cut it. At all.
The story follows Ryan O’Malley and Justin Miller (Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr., respectively), two washed up “30-as-shit” roommates just barely scraping by in Los Angeles. Miller meekly spends his days at a video game company, where he dreams of selling his own game that features real-life experiences as a police officer. In preparation for his pitch, he even manages to get his hands on some legit police uniforms, complete with bulletproof vests. How convenient. Meanwhile, the unemployed whack job O’Malley just plays football with some sassy 11-year-olds in the park. After they mistake a masquerade party for a costume party, because they’re stupid, they end up on the streets in their fake uniforms and find that everyone thinks they are the real boys in blue. Let the shenanigans commence.
In between the bitch slapping, the confiscation and then use of marijuana, and a disgusting scene featuring close-up shots of a fat guy’s naked body, O’Malley and Miller get caught up in some drama with a gang of Russian mobsters. The erratic Mossi Kasic, with an atypical casting of James D’Arcy, heads the gang. With some help from real cop Officer Seager, played by Rob Riggle (of course), O’Malley and Miller somehow successfully manage to get the edge on Mossi and his posse. But it’s then that our two bumbling heroes find themselves in some very, very real danger. For about 20 minutes, the movie transforms into an intense action thriller. It’s awkward and jarring, but once you realize this, it morphs back to the stupid comedy it was before. Yay.
Johnson and Wayans have already proven that they can do comedy, and that they can do it really well on New Girl, the FOX sitcom they both star in. And it’s true that there are some funny moments where they are able to show off these skills, but these are few and very far between. Their friendship dynamic just seems like the writers pulled it straight from 21 Jump Street but with far-more half-assed dialogue and lazy character development.
This is all a little sad and pathetic, because this was a cast of some fairly talented actors—excluding Nina Dobrev, who’s only there to be the pretty face, job well done—but when faced with a lousy plot, there’s only so much they can do. Even a cameo from the hilarious Keegan-Michael Key couldn’t redeem this movie. And that’s because whoever wrote the script decided that making an unfunny caricature of a weird-ass cholo man would be a great idea. Seriously, the amount of stereotypical portrayals of people of color was extremely irritating, and only further illustrated the laziness of screenwriters Luke Greenfield and Nicholas Thomas. Because writing something witty takes far too much time and energy than just sneezing out something that’s stupid and slightly racist.
Let’s Be Cops was intended to be a light, funny romp of a movie where two bumbling idiots realize all the perks they can get when they pretend to be cops. But honestly, it was hard to watch a story in which pretend cops abuse their power, in relation to recent events. And while it was certainly no fault of the filmmakers, the inopportune release date did cast a dark pall over the lowbrow comedy.
Anyway, all anybody will really get out of this movie is that Rob Riggle is a badass, and everyone else is an idiot. (104 min.)
—Adriana Catanzarite; New Times intern