Starring: Tracy Morgan, Bruce Willis, Sean William Scott
Directed by: Kevin Smith
Rated: R for brief language
Movie Released: 2010
If it had been the 90’s and you told me that Kevin Smith had made a film that was so colossally bad that you would want to gouge your eyes out with a rusty spork, I would have laughed and checked it out anyway. The director found his niche in the 90’s cranking out fan favorites like Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma, and Chasing Amy. He expanded the ViewAskew universe in 2001 giving Jay and Silent Bob their own movie in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. But then Kevin closed the book on his famed ViewAskewniverse and opened a new chapter in his life, known as Jersey Girl. The Affleck flick, while lovable, became a box office bomb that Smith never recovered from. His return to the raunchy comedy Zack and Miri (make a porno) was a mediocre success at best, despite pulling in Seth Rogen during the height of his career. Beaten and broken, Smith ran for cover, complained about the success of Zack and Miri on the Internet, his own podcasts and to any poor street waif that would listen. Shortly there after he signed up for Cop Out.
Cop Out is the first film that Smith has directed and not written, and it becomes very evident quickly that Smith’s heart just wasn’t in this film. This buddy cop film features Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in a throwback to films like Beverly Hills Cop, Midnight Run, Tango and Cash, and Lethal Weapon. Willis plays a hard nosed divorced detective who is struggling to pay for his daughter’s outlandish wedding before her new step dad does, and Morgan is his over the top sidekick of a partner. During a drug bust gone wrong they find themselves smack in the middle of angry Mexican cartel, who just so happens to have obtained a baseball card worth $85,000 that was once in Willis’ possession (and was going to pay for the wedding). In order to prove that crime doesn’t pay and to get his card back, Willis and Morgan hit the streets to bring down the bad guys and save the day.
It was about half way through Cop Out that I realized I had no ounce of caring left in me. I didn’t care what happened to these characters, or where the plot went. This film was all out terrible. It had a weak story line, two forgettable, over acted main characters in Willis and Morgan and comedy that was written by a two year old. High point of the movie is an interrogation scene where Tracy Morgan’s character thinks the proper way to interrogate people is to scream lines from Al Pacino movies, An Officer and a Gentleman, and a “Yippee Ki Ya Motherf****r” for good measure; which of course prompts Willis to ask “Where’s that line from?” If you’re reading this and saying, Did you really find THAT funny?, the answer is beyond a mild chuckle, no. But this is really the best Cop Out has to offer.
The rumor is the script for Cop Out (originally titles A Couple of Dicks but determined to be unmarketable by studios) floated around for years as one of these movies that everyone thought should get made, yet never happened. This project landed in Smith’s lap as a jobber film and he took the paycheck. On set, Smith was very vocal about Bruce Willis being a “diva” and as a result was not well received by the film’s cast and crew. In fact Smith had “anti-bruce” swag made up for participants at the films wrap party, which oddly enough Willis didn’t attend. It’s easy to see that Willis was in fact phoning this one in, as he has the charisma of a pineapple in the film. If you’re wondering, pineapples have very weak charismatic qualities.
Perhaps what makes this film even worse is Tracy Morgan. Morgan spends the entire script running around screaming in a voice more annoying the Rush Hour’s Chris Tucker. At no point do you believe his character is a cop, and if he was you would actually feel more helpless if he tried to help you. His character is there to spout off at the mouth screaming stupidly and comes off as a slightly mentally handicapped child with turrets.
Smith adds nothing to this film as a director, mostly because Smith’s films work because of his writing, not his work behind the camera. However, taking this film as a jobber film all he can really offer is a storyboard scene to scene layout of someone else’s generic script. The end result is we get Smith’s patented choppy style on a film that isn’t working in the first place.
I remember seeing a Smith on a twitter/internet rant on how he HATES critics because they bashed Cop Out. At the time, I wondered if Cop Out could truly be that bad. The answer is simply yes, and Smith has nothing to complain about. The film was indeed bad, however it is the film that has made the most money theatrically to date for Kevin Smith. Smith has plenty to complain about, and will continue to do so. After all, Jersey Girl didn’t deserve the bad wrap that it got, Southwest Airlines thinks he’s too fat to fly and the list can go on. The point is Kevin, you took this jobber of a film and made a dud. So what, who cares? Every director does it. You’ve got a strong fan base, a huge podcast listnership, and make millions every year off “Silent Bob Speaks” spoken word events. Why blow away any credibility you have defending Cop Out? I know I sure wouldn’t.