What was Kevin Smith thinking? An audacious critic of society and film in particular, and no stranger to poking fun at himself I can foresee, a few years down the road, a sheepish Smith laughing off his involvement in this torturously unfunny genre film. What he may lack in compelling direction skills, he more than makes up for in witty screenplays with equal balance raunch and insight having crafted classics such as Clerks and Chasing Amy. With Smith absent from the writing role there is absolutely no reason to seek out Cop Out.
Calling Cop Out a 'buddy cop' film would be a gross misnomer. To qualify as such, we would actually have to witness some aspect of 'buddy'. Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan, who co-star, have absolutely no chemistry and I did not believe for a single second they would ever be friends, or even be able to tolerate one another for that matter. Furthermore, I did not believe for a single second that Tracy Morgan could ever be a cop. I am willing to suspend some disbelief in movies like this but c'mon. This role would have been kin to casting Betty White in Taken. Morgan is a very funny man in supporting situations, with 30 Rock being an apt example (Although that show benefits from Tina Fey's screenplay. If she had penned Cop Out this review could be reading far differently) but as with actors like Chris Rock and Chris Tucker, a little goes a long way.
Then we have Bruce Willis who just seems eager to leave. I have never seen Willis mope his way through a movie like this; all of his roguish charms seemed drained by the horrific writing and familiarity of the gags. To make matter worse yet, we get a horrendous performance from Sean William Scott, also a very funny man, whose character is as annoying as it is perfunctory. Many have been calling this a familiar rehash of buddy cop flicks of years past; I wish. I would have begged for a Beverly Hills Cop XXII over this near abomination.
The plot, in case you care, centers on Willis' and Morgan's Jimmie and Paul, two NYPD detectives who stumble into a drug ring after Jimmie's prized baseball card is stolen in front of his eyes during a robbery. He needs the card to pay for his daughters wedding and as he searches with the help of the criminal by which it was stolen (William Scott) uncovers more than he had in mind.
In summation, this film fails as a comedy, fails as an action film, fails as a breakout role for Tracy Morgan, fails as a return to the cop genre for Willis and mars Kevin's Smith's mostly unblemished track record. Originally titled A Couple of Dicks, the title was then changed to what you now see on the marquee. I can only assume this was a backhanded reference to the state of Smith's creative integrity.
Read all my reviews at simonsaysmovies.blogspot.com