01 March 2010

Kevin Smith's COP OUT - A Review

by guest columnist Michael Wendt.  Follow him on Twitter.

I have been a fan of Kevin Smith ever since I was encouraged to rent Mallrats back in high school. The frank dialogue made my dad and I laugh so hard we had to rent it more than once.  Smith is a filmmaker that has gone out of his way to be interactive with not only his fans but his detractors as well.  I have seen him speak on several occasions (even got to ask him questions!), bought his books, and am a faithful listener of his Smodcasts. However, after viewing his latest film (first as director for hire and first he didn't write), Cop Out , I reluctantly have to report that I found it to be just so-so. 

The film follows long-time police partners,  Jimmy (Bruce Willis) and Paul (Tracy Morgan), who have been recently suspended without pay after a botched operation. Problem is Jimmy needs to pay for his daughter's high class wedding. So he decides to sell his valuable baseball card, but in the process they get tangeled up with a baseball obsessed drug lord who demands the cops find his Mercedes in exchange for the card. Meanwhile, Paul is concerned his wife (Parks and Recreation's Rashida Jones) is cheating on him, and another cop duo played by Adam Brody and Kevin Pollack (who seem to have a little better chemistry than Willis and Morgan) are also on the case. There are some other characters and subplots mixed in like Dave (played by Sean William Scott) who likes to repeat everything that's said around him, and Gabriella (Ana de la Reguera) a woman on the run from the drug kingpin.

Smith, trying to mix in themes from 80s buddy cop films, was attempting his best to keep the film light, while mixing in the action and some of it works well. There are definitely some good laughs from time to time, and the action is mostly well staged. Hiring former Beverly Hills Cop composer Harold Faltermeyer to provide a throw back synth score is also inspired.  But several of the jokes were by the book and fell flat. 

In order to make a buddy cop movie work well, you need good villain, and this movie just doesn't have them. The main drug kingpin is very bland and uninteresting. Also some of the subplots are brought up and quickly dropped such as the one involving Paul and his wife. 

So while I was not necessarily a big fan of the film, I will say this: perhaps if the movie does well or makes enough money, it will allow Smith to get the ok to write and direct his next film with studio backing. I think we all know he has the ability to bring to the screen more memorable characters and dialogue than this. 

Rating **/**** 2 out of 4

Michael Wendt is a Cleveland-based Actor, Producer, and Director.  His recent works include the documentary The End of the World As We Knew It which has played at several Film Festivals, as well as acting in the romantic omedy The Bride & The Grooms which had a limited release around the country last year. When not working on film projects, you can probably find him frequenting the movie theater or hitting a karaoke bar!


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