The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Film Review 'Let's Be Cops' falls flat on humour

  • Print

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - At one point during "Let's Be Cops," actor Damon Wayans Jr. has a scene in which a huge naked man's groin is inches from his face. That's a good approximation of what filmgoers will experience during this witless high-concept comedy featuring him and his co-star on Fox sitcom New Girl, Jake Johnson, who must be newly appreciating the sophistication of the small screen.

In case you didn't deduce it from the title, the film concerns two stumblebums who decide to impersonate policemen for kicks. They are 30-year-olds Ryan (Johnson), a former college athlete and mostly unemployed actor who spends his time barging in on children's football games, and Justin (Wayans), a struggling video game designer.

When the pair don police uniforms, borrowed from Justin's failed attempt at pitching a cop-themed video game, to attend a masquerade party that they mistakenly assume is a costume party, they find themselves the recipients of adoring female attention and respectful deference from everyone with whom they come into contact. Since the film is set in Los Angeles, that's the first clue that nothing onscreen will be remotely believable.

The pair is soon engaged in various hijinks that escalate when Ryan buys a used police car on eBay and outfits it with the literal bells and whistles. Although the milquetoast Justin is initially resistant to the charade, he enthusiastically joins in after finally getting somewhere with Josie (Nina Dobrev), the beautiful coffee shop waitress for whom he's been pining.

They eventually run afoul of a gang of Russian mobsters headed by the psychopathically violent Mossi (a buffed-up James D'Arcy). With the aid of a real cop (Rob Riggle) who at first mistakes them for the real thing, they get embroiled in a dangerous investigation in which they're way over their heads.

The screenplay, co-written by Nicholas Thomas and director Luke Greenfield, fails to mine the potentially humorous premise for the necessary laughs, with nearly all of the gags falling thuddingly flat. As if realizing that the humour wasn't going anywhere, the film suddenly lurches into action movie territory, complete with the sort of violence and brutality that is tonally at odds with the farcical setup.

While they demonstrate a genuine onscreen chemistry, the lead performers are thoroughly adrift, with Wayans mainly displaying pained expressions throughout and Johnson devolving into unfunny boorish mode.

The supporting players are equally ineffective at overcoming the lame material, with Andy Garcia barely making an impression (but picking up an easy paycheque) as an underworld heavy. The sole exception is Keegan-Michael Key, of the sketch comedy duo Key & Peele, who garners some laughs as a wildly braided street informant.

The end credits are accompanied not by the usual outtakes but rather by brief comic scenes that didn't make into the final product. Perversely, they're funnier than anything that's preceded them.

"Let's Be Cops," a 20th Century Fox release, is rated R for " language including sexual references, some graphic nudity, violence and drug use." Running time: 104 minutes.

___

MPAA rating definition for R: Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

City Beautiful trailer: How architecture shaped Winnipeg's DNA

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • The sun peers through the fog to illuminate a tree covered in hoar frost near Headingley, Manitoba Thursday- Standup photo- February 02, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JJOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-Postcard  Day-Horror frost and fog created a most beautiful setting at Assiniboine Park Thursday morning in WInnipeg- Enviroent Canada says the fog will lifet this morning and will see a high of -7C-  JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Feb 18, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Has the attack on Parliament hill shaken your faith in Canada's ability to protect its citizens from terrorist threats?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google