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precarious since 1997 | by maryann johanson

Cop Out (review)

Sellout

Shame on Silent Bob. I realize that times is tough and everyone’s gotta make a living, and that that’s probably why Kevin Smith agreed to direct a big-budget studio buddy action comedy. But shame on him anyway. Shame on him for betraying everything that he has been as a filmmaker: brash and aggressive, angry but hopeful, and never, ever less than full of heart. I don’t love all his movies, but I love and respect that he has his own unique vision, his own particular take on the world. You always know when you’re watching a Kevin Smith movie — there’s no mistaking his movies for anyone else’s. At least until now. Cop Out? Sellout. Cheap betrayal of a sellout of his fans and of himself.
It’s not like Smith can’t be crude: his last movie was called Zack and Miri Make a Porno, for Christ’s sake. But he was always smart about it, and never crude for crudity’s sake alone. In fact, his crudity always served to make some sort of pointed social commentary. This endurance event of a crapfest of fake manufactured movie product, however, plays as if it were written by a couple of kindergartners… and who knows, perhaps screenwriter brothers Robb and Mark Cullen are indeed still getting over potty training. That could be the reason for the tittering barrage of jokes about cock and sucking cock, endless dissertations on the art of making poop, and one excruciatingly unbearable scene in which Brooklyn cop Tracy Morgan (G-Force, The Longest Yard) and perp Seann William Scott (Planet 51, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs) engage in a “conversation” that’s more like an escalating toddler battle for backseat-of-the-car supremacy than anything a movie purportedly by adult filmmakers, featuring adult characters, and for adult audiences should ever get near. You’ve seen part of it in the trailers: Tracy Morgan chanting “No no no no no no no no” like a baby throwing a tantrum. Who the fuck over the age of five thinks this is funny?

The requisite kick to the crotch — of which we are treated to more than once here — is practically witty next to that.

Maybe this is supposed to be a parody of buddy action cop comedies. If it is, someone should tell the Cullens and Smith that merely repeating the worst idiocies of the genre does not a parody make. (Or maybe someone should inform the filmmakers that the genre has basically been a parody since the beginning?) Paul Hodges (Morgan) and his partner, Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis: Planet Terror, Nancy Drew), have been suspended, Lethal Weapon style — complete with the handing over of the guns and badges — but that doesn’t stop them from hunting down Mexican druglords and a stolen rare baseball card, committing all manner of felonies themselves in the process, and generally engaging in random acts of petulant, thwarted masculinity: Morgan’s manhood is threatened by his wife, Debbie (Rashida Jones: I Love You, Man, Little Black Book), whom he suspects is cheating on him… and so she should be, since he is a subliterate, actually drooling cretin; Willis’s manhood is threatened by the fact that he may not be able to pay for his daughter’s (Michelle Trachtenberg: 17 Again) wedding unless he recovers that valuable baseball collectible. (The upkeep on women! It’ll drive a man crazy!)

And if the details weren’t bad enough, the film is insulting on larger levels, too. Cop Out skips over important plot points — or at least as “important” as anything can be when obviously no one involved gave a shit — if Morgan cannot be present to dribble saliva all over it or Willis to look mortally embarrassed by it all. Adding some fake-ass Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack music doesn’t do anything but make us hanker for the time when these kinds of movies were actually good.


MPAA: rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, violence and brief sexuality

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine

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