Cop Out

Childlike Cop Aggravates the Peace


26 February 2010| No Comments on Cop Out     by Sean Chavel


If you are one who says that you have discerning taste then by all means avoid Cop Out. This is the crappiest film in awhile to feature major stars, in this case action movie icon Bruce Willis and TV star Tracy Morgan, crappy and horrendous in every way that a movie can be horrendous. On the brighter side, the movie begins with OK shtick and that is where it peaks.

This is a buddy cop movie with one well dressed cop and another cop who looks like he dresses at Mervyn’s. Usually the icon cop is assigned a nincompoop partner at the beginning of these movies and the tolerance improves with time. The difference here in this buddy cop film it’s that these mismatched guys, Willis as Jimmy Monroe and Morgan as Paul Hodges, have been partners for nine years.

The duo is long accustomed to each other but that doesn’t keep them from learning new things about each other. Get ready for potty jokes, private parts jokes and porn movie lingo (101-collegiate porn terms, nothing new). Interspersed into the lame comedy are by-the-numbers action scenes that are sloppily edited together. They say cops have eyes in the back of their heads, but Morgan is such an incompetent cop that twice within the first act terrible things happen when he’s not looking.

But that is of course the joke of the movie. Casting Willis (last seen in the underappreciated “Surrogates”), you have the leading machismo presence to headline a cop movie. By contrast, the entire comedy depends on co-star Morgan’s childlike personification (I liked him as Astronaut Jones on “SNL.”). On TV, he has been funniest when he puts on that 12-year old voice and subsists in that squishy man-child posture with just a hint of hidden anti-social rage simmering underneath ready to thump anyone who misunderstands him.

Morgan does that in the movie, and he doesn’t for a second look like he could have hung in there as a law enforcer for nine years – he’s so incompetent that he gets somebody killed, too, within no time, and his entire modus operandi is quoting from other cop movies. Oh, and it looks like his momma does the shopping for him at Mervyn’s.

In last year’s staggering and audacious comedy “Observe and Report,” the film took Seth Rogen’s bi-polar disorder problem seriously then satirized it with contemporary white trash reality. I wish that “Cop Out” could have addressed Morgan’s childish narcissism and dealt with it in a way that reflects the real world. Instead, the movie doesn’t want to tweak reality, but instead be this (vulgar and profanity-strewn) meta dirty-boys fantasy for nearly two hours and stick to boilerplate plots.

This is the kind of stinker where Bruce Willis chases down bad guys to retrieve his stolen baseball card, a plot that just happens to crossfire with Mexican drug dealers the whole police department has been longing to shakedown. In smaller parts, Rashida Jones (“I Love You, Man”) is a welcome attraction as Morgan’s wife, but I could have done without another one of Fred Armisen’s stereotyped caricatures. Armisen is great on SNL, sucks in movies.

But here I am trying to look around for something else to mention. But the truth is that I don’t feel the need to go look for further excuses. I hated this film, and that should be enough. I will mention that the film is directed by Kevin Smith (“Clerks”), in his first effort where he didn’t write the script, but it’s as typically clunky as his rest. But it’s certain that Smith encouraged his actors to ad-lib jokes about the size and smells of certain body parts, which pervades through the rest of his films, too.

107 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Red Heat” (1988); “Tango & Cash” (1989); “Collision Course” (1989); “The Last Boy Scout” (1991).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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