Film: 2010: "Cop Out"

Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan team up for "Cop Out"

Photo above: Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in Warner Bros. "Cop Out."

Cop Out: A Review

By Miv Evans

Once you’ve seen the poster you know Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan are teamed up as partners in a buddy comedy and, as a new combo of guys in a hackneyed scenario has worked amazingly well before, there’s every chance this could be the next movie franchise to hit our screens.   

But when phenomenal success has come knocking before, the filmmakers have always taken a huge stride away from all genre forefathers and created something so original there is nothing to compare it with.  Unfortunately, the Cop Out writers didn’t have enough confidence in their idea to go out on a limb and although there are some funny moments and there’s plenty of pace, there is absolutely nothing to suggest there will ever be a Cop Out 2.      
The set-up starts entertainingly enough, although I find movies that reference other movies to be a touch arrogant and risk taking the audience out of the movie they’re trying to watch.  This is never a wise move, particularly if you have nothing spectacular up your sleeve, and if it’s an attempt at realism, referencing a romantic comedy in an action crime story can really grate.   The writers did have the sense not to mention THAT movie but the signature music is eerily similar and before I knew it Axel was there, before my very eyes, reminding me how it’s supposed to be done.   I’m sure this couldn’t have been the composer’s intent but playing safe often has its own reward.   
The movie reference device is used excessively at the beginning and then mostly disappears, which is rather the way this film develops.  Characters pop in when needed and then leave forever, robbing the main characters of anything more than superficial interaction and leaving the audience with a sneaking feeling that each one was created for the convenience of the plot. 

The only character who sticks around is a girl the two rescue but, as she can’t speak a word of English, communication is limited and when she gives them the very thing they are looking for our suspicions are confirmed.   By this time it’s pretty clear this lack of interaction is because the main characters lack any kind of depth and the writers are afraid to stretch them beyond anything more than a banal exchange.  This thought is confirmed by the excessive time spent on a knock- knock joke that wouldn’t have done too well in a boys’ high school playground.     
With so much time spent on quoting other movies, there is little left to set up Jimmy and Paul as incompetent mavericks, which is the writers’ intent, so to make up for it we are fed some pretty on the nose dialogue -“there’s a right way of doing police work, and there’s the way you two do it” which may have satisfied the producers but doesn’t work for me at all.  These two experienced cops are clearly street bright and far from inept, but when an attempted arrest falls apart they get suspended. 

This is a grossly under motivated reaction but obviously the best idea the writers could come up with to get the story rolling.  Our two heroes also fare well in the face of some religious Mexican gangsters (which played as silly as it sounds) but this leads to a torture scene and some brutal murders which are frankly bizarre and unwelcome in a caper movie filled with light-hearted banter and domestic disharmony.   

Jimmy and Paul’s relationship with their two colleagues is also sketchy.   At first the four are at war but when they get together later they are all quite chummy.   Again, the interaction is never there.   Even Paul’s relationship with his wife is developed without her being around and only serves to slow down the action.    
One thing that is consistent throughout is Tracy’s delivery of his lines - he shouts each word as loud as he can which wears on the audience and must have been murder in rehearsals.  Bruce plays Jimmy in a mostly understated manner which could be because the director wanted to balance the over excited with the laid back, but I think Bruce was quiet because all that shouting gave the poor man a thumping headache which means I might not be the only one who hopes there won’t be a green light for a sequel.

Miv Evans is a British producer, now living in Los Angeles.

In Theatres Friday, February 26, 2010

"Cop Out" Movie Production Notes
"Cop Out" Cast Profiles
Official "Cop Out" Web Site:

Cop Out Movie Trailer

Watch the Official "Cop Out" movie trailer from Warner Bros. Pictures through Hulu. Click on the white triangle to start the movie.

Cop Out Movie Synopsis

In "Cop Out," two veteran NYPD detectives face off against a memorabilia-obsessed gangster when they set out to retrieve a valuable baseball card.

Directed by Kevin Smith, "Cop Out" features two longtime NYPD partners on the trail of a stolen, rare, mint-condition baseball card who find themselves up against a merciless, memorabilia-obsessed gangster. But before they can recover the prized `52 Pafko, they must first rescue a Mexican beauty who holds the key to millions of dollars in off-shore bank accounts--and who has already witnessed one high-profile murder because of them.

Veteran detective Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) needs to cash in on his perfect Pafko in order to pay for his daughter's upcoming wedding, but in the tradition of everything that can go's pilfered before he has a chance to collect.

Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan) is Jimmy's "partner-against-crime," whose preoccupation with his wife's alleged infidelity makes it hard for him to keep his eye on the ball, or his mind on the crime.

Already in trouble and with nothing left to lose, Jimmy and Paul will have to break all the rules--including enlisting the aid of stoner thief Dave (Seann William Scott), who's working Paul's last nerve as Paul and Jimmy try to work the case.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, A Marc Platt Production, "Cop Out," directed by Kevin Smith from a screenplay by Robb Cullen & Mark Cullen, and starring Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Adam Brody, Kevin Pollak, Guillermo Diaz, Ana de la Reguera and Seann William Scott. The film is produced by Marc Platt, Polly Johnsen and Michael Tadross. Adam Siegel, Robb Cullen and Mark Cullen serve as executive producers.

The behind-the-scenes team includes director of photography David Klein, production designer Michael Shaw, costume designer Juliet Polcsa and Academy Award®-nominated composer Harold Faltermeyer. As he frequently does, Smith serves as his own editor on the film.

"Cop Out" will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

The film is rated R by the MPAA for pervasive language including sexual references, violence and brief sexuality.

(L-r) BRUCE WILLIS as Jimmy and TRACY MORGAN as Paul in Warner Bros. Pictures' crime comedy "Cop Out." Photo by Abbot Genser

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