Thursday, July 24, 2014

Let's Be Cops review

Buddy cop comedies are extremely popular at this point and there have been good and bad ones. The 21 Jump Street series is absolutely brilliant, but Ride Along was formulaic garbage. I wasn't really sure where Fox's new R-rated buddy comedy, Let's Be Cops, would fall. The trailers made the film look pretty funny, but also relatively generic. And that's exactly what this movie ends up being. Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans make for a solid duo, but they're not on the level of Tatum and Hill. There are a few chuckles and some legitimately great laughs, but in the end, it's a bland and unmemorable comedy.

Ryan (Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans) are down in the dumps. Ryan was a successful quarterback in high school and college, but a career-ending injury basically sidelined his entire life. Justin has been working on video games forever, but every idea of his is rejected by his bosses on the spot and thrown out for something stupid. One night, both of them decide to dress up as cops for their college reunion party. Once they go out on the streets, they realize that people actually believe that they're cops and they decide to go with it. Ryan impresses all of the people in his apartment complex, Justin gets the girl (Nina Dobrev) he's in love with and they actually start to act like real cops. However, the two buddies get in way too deep and end up tracking down a smuggler and fighting a Russian gang that rules their LA neighborhood. 

Let's Be Cops is a standard buddy comedy. Nothing more. Nothing less. It's relatively bland and honestly not all that interesting. The film is never bad, but there's not a memorable thing about it. The predictability is there from start to finish and this movie feels way longer than it actually is. However, it is actually pretty funny at times and Jake Johnson is a very charismatic actor who fits the lead role really well. There are a few laugh-out-loud laughs, but they're few and far between and it just never saves the film. In the end, Let's Be Cops is a movie that you catch on TBS on a Saturday when you have nothing to do. You'll probably like it better at home.

The performances in this film are relatively serviceable. No one really stands out, but Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans are a solid pairing, and Johnson is especially good. Both have good scenes and both fully commit to their roles, but they just don't have the electric chemistry that you need to pull off a great buddy cop comedy. The supporting cast is astonishingly weak. Rob Riggle is in this movie, but he's honestly not that funny, which is unusual (Riggle is typically dynamite). Nina Dobrev is there as well, but she's just playing the stereotypical girlfriend role. However, Andy Garcia does lend some levity to the film in his villainous role. He probably has only five minutes of screen time, but he stands out.

The actors aren't that great, so if this movie really wanted to be fantastic, it would have needed a solid script. Honestly, it doesn't have one. This movie isn't quite as generically predictable as Ride Along and there are definitely more laughs, but it still is littered with buddy cop tropes. The only difference is that the main characters aren't cops, they're only pretending to be cops. That's sort of a new spin on the genre, but all the usual cliches are there. The unique spin doesn't add anything.

When I saw Neighbors and 22 Jump Street, I laughed every minute. I was laughing really hard. Let's Be Cops was sometimes funny, but there were only a few belly laughs. Most of the jokes I just chuckled at. The humor is mildly funny but it's never that hilarious. A few scenes stand out and the musical choices are somewhat inspired, but this movie just didn't make me laugh that hard. It just doesn't go for it.

If you've ever seen a buddy cop movie, you know where this film is going. The only thing I gave Ride Along credit for was the entertaining final battle. I can't say the same for Let's Be Cops. The action is never exciting and you never truly care about any of the characters on screen. The scenes aren't shot well and the thrills just aren't there.

All that aside, I have to say that the weirdest thing about this movie is that it's the tamest R-rated comedy I've seen in my life. Sure, Damon Wayans smokes crystal meth and has a fully nude man run over him. But that's honestly all. This film truly feels like a PG-13 comedy that threw in some f-bombs and a little dash of raunchy humor just to get that R-rating. And it really doesn't pay off. The crude humor is funny, but the clever character moments are honestly more amusing. If they wanted to make a hard-R comedy, they failed spectacularly. There was nothing shocking, there were no "OMG" moments. It was all rather standard and bland.

This movie also feels really long. It's only 1 hour and 44 minutes, but I could have sworn I was in there for over two hours. That's never a good sign. I was entertained, but it wasn't enough. This film is just basically running through the motions. There are a few inspired sequences and I did laugh at times, but it just never really did it for me.

Let's Be Cops could be worse. But it could be better. The stars have charisma and there are some funny scenes, but let's face it, we've all seen this movie before and way better movies have been made with this same template. There's nothing unique or special and the movie just isn't that funny. The potential is there for something cool, but the film never follows through. It just goes through the motions and hits every cliche in the book.

THE FINAL GRADE:  C                                              (5.7/10)

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