An entertaining action film is not entirely hard to make since it does not often take a great deal of brain power to shoot gunfights and explosions. Neither is a fun comedy, because all you need is some lewd jokes to get most audiences laughing. What's much rarer however is a film that effectively blends the two genres to create an engrossing action comedy.
Kevin Smith's "Cop Out" is the best of both worlds; as a buddy cop movie, it has both action and hilarious jokes.
The plot is fairly straightforward in this film. Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) is an average cop who has promised to pay for his daughter's wedding no matter how expensive the ceremony. Since he is a proud man, he refuses to accept financial aid for the celebration from his ex-wife's rich second husband Roy, and with good reason because the character played by Jason Lee is a real pompous ass.
Jimmy's plan to scare up the dough is to sell a mint condition rare baseball card in his possession to a wealthy buyer for a serious profit. His scheme goes awry though when his baseball card is stolen by a Mexican drug kingpin with a penchant for sports collectables. Enlisting the assistance of his wacky partner Paul (Tracy Morgan), the two set out to find the thief and to recover the card no matter what the cost.
Once the two realize the gang leader has the card that they seek, they decide to strike up a deal with him. The kingpin promises to return Jimmy and Paul the card in exchange for retrieving a Mercedes that has been stolen from him. What seems to be a simple task becomes much more complicated for the pair however, once they discover why the gangster's car is so important to him.
Bruce Willis really plays the straight man in this comedy, so he does not elicit a lot of laughs, however what he lacks in the humor department Tracy Morgan makes up. Initially I must admit I was incredibly skeptical of Morgan, since normally I do not find him very funny, and in most trailers for "Cop Out" he seemed really obnoxious, however after seeing the scenes in context I found myself cracking up quite frequently.
Morgan's Paul is a romantic at heart, overly sentimental about silly things, like his long tenure being Jimmy's partner, and affectionate with his wife almost to the point of being creepy. He is also incredibly neurotic and can't stop obsessing over whether his wife might be cheating on him, to the point of ridiculousness, letting it interfere with his work when he should be focused on the mission. Both of these elements combined with his desire to do whatever it takes to catch the bad guy is comical, even if that includes stealing from kids and laying a hand on them when they have wronged him.
Sean William Scott stands out in the small part he has as a criminal apprehended by Jimmy and Paul on their quest for the baseball card. Much like the annoying child in the back seat, William Scott gets on everyone's nerves very easily with his wise cracking and zany behavior. It's hard to tell whether any of this behavior comes from heavy use of drugs, but it seems to be implied. Probably some of the funnies moments in the film come from William Scott's character butting heads with Morgan, another intense personality that does not take Scott's good natured ribbing well.
Kevin Pollak and Adam Brody are worth mentioning as another pair of partners old and young respectively, who are the polar opposites of Willis and Morgan. They suffer from a disease of self-importance, under this delusion that they are in fact much cooler than they actually are. Subscribing to cheesy catch phrases and television cop clichés like animal skin boots, these two are an easy target for Willis and Morgan to poke fun at.
Admittedly "Cop Out" does not do anything radical for the genre, treading through typical territory for most action comedies, although its modern setting influenced by cell phones, movie references, and internet jokes make it a buddy cop movie for a new era. While many other critics will most likely shoot holes in this film for its juvenile humor, I'm not able to deny that I had a whole lot of fun in the theater seeing "Cop Out" and I genuinely laughed a great deal.
My Grade: B+
Story by Starpulse contributing writer Evan Crean, a movie trivia guru and trailer addict with a practically photographic memory of actors and directors. Get a first look at the movies premiering each week, which which ones will be worth your $10, which ones you should wait to rent and which ones aren't worth your time.