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REVIEW: Cop Out

Kevin Smith admits he's lazy--this movie proves it

(L-R) Tracy Morgan as Paul and Bruce Willis as Jimmy in "Cop Out."

(L-R) Tracy Morgan as Paul and Bruce Willis as Jimmy in "Cop Out."

  • (L-R) Tracy Morgan as Paul and Bruce Willis as Jimmy in "Cop Out."
  • (L-R) Tracy Morgan as Paul and Bruce Willis as Jimmy in "Cop Out."
  • (L-R) Seann William Scott as Dave and Tracy Morgan as Paul in "Cop Out."
  • (L-R) Tracy Morgan as Paul and Bruce Willis as Jimmy in "Cop Out."
  • Seann William Scott as Dave in "Cop Out."
  • (L-R) Kevin Pollak as Hunsaker and Adam Brody as Barry Mangold in "Cop Out."
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This movie was originally titled, A Couple of Dicks. I’m not sure why the studio wouldn’t let them go with that. Tom Green had a more risqué title for a film years ago. Maybe it’s the fact that nobody has used the term “dick” for a criminal investigator in some time, and it wasn’t worth the angry letters and protests.

With a title like Cop Out, it makes it way too easy for the critics. I’ll say that director Kevin Smith kind of copped out on making a really funny film.

I laughed enough, so I’m not mad I saw it. But having been a fan of Smith in the early days (Chasing Amy and Clerks are hysterical), it saddens me that his last three films have been so disappointing.

I’ve heard him say at two different Comic-Con events that he’s lazy. It sure has been showing in his films.

The trailers for this movie didn’t look that great, and I was happy to see that the few funny scenes they did have (Tracy Morgan interrogating a guy and going through different cop scenes from other movies), actually had some funny stuff that wasn’t in the commercial (and how can you not laugh when he’s wearing glasses with a pen dangling from his mouth and says, “I think we need a bigger boat”?).

And how can you not laugh when they arrest a perp, and Morgan talks with a weird robotic voice, only to mouth the movie Robocop to Willis?

It’s even funnier listening to the manic Morgan mispronounce the word “homage.”

It was also fun seeing a cast I wasn’t aware this movie had. There was Kevin Pollak playing a rival cop.

He does a DeNiro impersonation (how many movies are going to have a DeNiro impersonation? I’ve seen three this week.), and it’s funny listening to Pollak go on and on about boots.

Jason Lee was unrecognizable as the snotty rich husband of Willis’ ex-wife. And a few comedians like Jim Norton and Susie Essmen (Curb Your Enthusiasm) show up.

The problem this movie has is that it starts as a send-up of the buddy cop films. About half way through, it just becomes one of the buddy cop films. I think it would’ve served them well to just stick to being a parody, especially when they had so many funny takes on the genre.

Instead of the bad guy that smashes people with a baseball bat (remember DeNiro in Untouchables?), this criminal puts them in a batting cage and hits balls at them. It should be noted that he’s a hardcore baseball card collecting drug king pin. So when Seann William Scott steals a card from Willis and sells it to him, it makes the batting cage scene a lot funnier.

Had Smith stuck with making a parody of the buddy cop movie, the synthesizers we hear (that remind us of Beverly Hills Cop) would’ve been funny, instead of bizarre. This movie is sloppy in places, and makes you wonder why everyone involved was just going through the motions. A perfect example is the closing scene. Scott was funny as the annoying burglar getting under Morgan’s skin. We’re expecting big laughs from the final scene that falls flat, and you realize you could’ve left during the start of the credits.

And geez, if any movie lends itself to showing outtakes in the credits, this was it. But we get nothing.

I’m a huge fan of Tracy Morgan. I loved him on Saturday Night Live, and I love him in interviews (not so much on 30 Rock). Yet, I didn’t understand why he always had slobber and snot dripping off him. Does Kevin Smith just try to gross people out in his movies?

(Don’t even get me started on the gross scenes in Zack and Miri Make a Porno.)

Speaking of Saturday Night Live, it seems many of the SNL alumni don’t have great film careers. They often do movies that would make great five-minute sketches, but not two-hour movies that stretch that sketch.

A few critics complained about a scene where Tracy Morgan describes going to the bathroom. Now, I’m not a fan of bathroom humor and would’ve been the first to agree this was unnecessary. The truth is, it worked well in the scene. They’re staking out a house and surprise a who burglar goes to the bathroom. This leads Morgan into explaining how he can’t go to the bathroom anywhere but his home.

A lot of people can relate to that. And hey…when everyone dissected what was in the suitcase in Pulp Fiction, didn’t anyone else also wonder why the movie had three scenes of John Travolta in the bathroom?

And with Morgan going on about his bathroom habits, they’re trying to establish a pattern of how often Morgan irritates Willis with the things he says (usually they’re facts he read off of Wikipedia).

With this being the month of the Oscars, I thought about lifetime achievement Oscars. I wondered if Bruce Willis would ever get something like that from the police since he’s played a cop in so many movies.

Had this been a comedy with an Adam Sandler or Rob Schneider, partnered with a Chris Tucker or Chris Rock, I probably wouldn’t have laughed as much as I did.

The thing Kevin Smith has over Quentin Tarantino when it comes to movie references – where Tarantino had characters in Inglorious Basterds talk about French filmmakers from the 20s that nobody knows – we all know the references Smith has in his films.

It’s just a shame at this point in his career, he has more bad movies than good on the IBDM list. And it’s a shame that with me laughing at 50 percent of the jokes in this movie, I’d have a hard time recommending it to anyone.

If you’ve seen the commercials, you know what to expect. If you feel you wasted your money, it’s your own fault. This movie is exactly what you expect it to be.