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Starring: Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Guillermo Diaz
Writers: Robb Cullen/Mark Cullen
Director: Kevin Smith
Company: Warner Bros. Pictures
Cop Out was on the 2008 Hollywood Black List, which contains screenplays that are great but have not yet been made into films. After seeing Cop Out, I can safely say that I am never going to trust the Hollywood Black List ever again. A supposed homage to the buddy cop films of the 1980's, it is both light on action and even more light on laughs.

Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan star as veteran NYPD cops who have been partners for nine years. After botching an investigation, the two are suspended for thirty days without pay. Monroe (Willis) is distraught, as the money he is losing out on was supposed to pay for his daughter's wedding. Desperate and not wanting her new step dad to take the glory away from him, he decides to sell a prized baseball card to get the money. However as he is getting it appraised, the hobby store is robbed and his card is stolen. Monroe is intent on getting it back and gets help from his loyal partner Hodges (Morgan) to track down who stole it. This brings them to the door of drug dealer Poh Boy (Guillermo Diaz) and they get roped into a lot more than they originally bargained for.

This is the first movie Kevin Smith has directed without writing and it shows. It has a completely different feel; the jokes are different, the story is very different, and it doesn't have the usual accouterments of a Kevin Smith picture (with the exception of appearances by Smith regulars Jason Lee and Ernie "Rick Derris" O'Donnell). Now, this could have not been a bad thing; especially after the failure both commercially and creatively of Zack and Miri Make a Porno, it was about time he tried something different. Cop Out should not have been it. The script itself is horrible, with lame jokes that are accented by the poor performances of the two leads. Willis especially feels like he is just phoning it in and reading from a cue card, exerting almost no effort whatsoever. Morgan is a little bit better, taking some cues from his character on 30 Rock, but it doesn't quite measure up to something entertaining. The other cast members are wasted, especially Rashida Jones, who plays Hodges' wife in about three scenes with no character development and no real reason to be there. She should have been played by someone else, since the whole time I was thinking what a waste it was.

The best moments of Cop Out come from Seann William Scott, who plays thief/parkour expert Dave. Most of the funny lines come from him and when he's on screen, the movie actually gets pretty enjoyable to watch. At the same time, it's the same role Scott is always asked to play: the goofball idiot. He is worthy of better work (see Stark Raving Mad for proof), but no one seems to ever give him a real shot to do something and he is stuck playing an extended cameo role. The music is also pretty good, especially the synth theme song.

Cop Out has been getting slammed by the critics feverishly and harshly (especially Devin Faraci from CHUD, who gave it a 0/10), and while I didn't like the movie all that much, it doesn't deserve that. There are a fair amount of funny moments to get you through and it picks up a bit in the third act. However, the horrible performances, unfunny (for the most part) jokes, and predictable plot take away from the overall enjoyment. If I were you (isn't that a scary thought?), I would say avoid this in the theaters, and maaaaybe rent it if you already pay for Netflix and have nothing better on your queue. Better yet, watch one of the many buddy cop movies that Cop Out attempts to pay homage to, or any of the earlier Kevin Smith films instead.

Final Verdict:
C-

 





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