by Adam Riske
What a waste.
Let's Be Cops
is the type of movie that Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. would be making fun of in a better movie. When I heard that the two actors were teaming up for a buddy cop movie, I was genuinely excited. Both can be hilarious (as proven on Fox’s New Girl
) and Jake Johnson, in particular, has evolved into a pretty charismatic actor in his own right, as seen in Safety Not Guaranteed
and Drinking Buddies
. So, it’s especially disappointing to report that Let’s Be Cops
is not the breakout mainstream comedy I was hoping it would be for either of them. It’s a flat, lifeless cop comedy that actually reminded me a great deal of Bulletproof
, that oh-so-memorable buddy cop movie from 1996 starring Damon Wayans Sr. and Adam Sandler. The world does not need two Bulletproofs
Let’s Be Cops
is straight up slumming for these guys. I was constantly directing a better movie in my head as I watched it. It starts out terribly, with hack direction (complete with a “this is what I learned” voiceover and characters telling each other things they already know) plus an awful score, wandering aimlessly for the bulk of the running time with only an occasional joke landing. It’s a watchable movie, but it sure is shitty. No doubt about that. It looks and feels cheap, resembling a cancelled Fox sitcom from the early 1990s. This would have been perfect playing after new episodes of Herman’s Head
The plot in brief: It doesn’t matter. JJ and DWJ pretend to be cops and cross paths with a Russian (?) crime lord played by James D’Arcy – actually quite good despite chewing gum in practically every scene. The girl the DWJ character is crushing on is played by Nina Dobrev (from The Vampire Diaries
and reportedly having a great hair season according to People Magazine
!). She’s a fucking bubblehead. It’s the type of dumb character that only exists in movies. She is a waitress that wants to be a makeup special effects designer but the busts she has in her apartment look like the shit you would papier-mâché at a kid’s birthday party.
Speaking of only existing in a movie, this movie exists steadfastly in a movie universe where companies are evil, employers are stupid (the people who work in DWJ’s video game design office are proof that no one who made this movie has ever worked in an office ever in their lives) and folks get kicked in the nuts fairly often.
And yet Let’s Be Cops
is not a complete loss. Just when the movie has seemingly gone off the rails, there’s an introduction of a character that saves the movie and for a few minutes it becomes funny. This happens twice, first with the introduction of a trampy character played by Natasha Leggero (a hoot and sexy despite the fact that she’s not supposed to be sexy) and then with the snitch/informant played by Keegan-Michael Key. Key is awesome in this movie. All of the scenes in which he appears are the best scenes in Let’s Be Cops
, including a scene where an undercover Damon Wayans Jr. ingests crystal meth and starts flipping out. I wish more scenes worked the way that one works. It’s because the movie finally just doesn’t give a shit and goes crazy.
That’s what Let’s Be Cops
is truly lacking – a director who is willing to let this material go all the way. Director Luke Greenfield (The Animal
, The Girl Next Door
) is too concerned with us liking Jake Johnson’s and Damon Wayans Jr.’s characters, so whenever the more hardcore of the two (Johnson) threatens to do something nuts, Wayans reigns him in. That’s not funny! Why the filmmakers make being a buzzkill 75% of Wayans Jr.’s job in this movie is beyond me.
Patrick and Doug have mentioned on the podcast that many comedies have third act problems, devolving into a chase or action because there no idea how to end the movie. Let’s Be Cops
falls victim to this. In fact, there are hardly any jokes in the last 30 minutes of the movie at all. It just becomes a sub-par action movie with predictable reveals and turns. It’s a bummer.
I was so disappointed by Let’s Be Cops
. This should have been Beverly Hills Cop
or The Blues Brothers
-good and it’s not. I didn’t realize I disliked this movie so much until I started writing this review. It’s not great in the moment; when you give it any thought, it’s terrible. It glorifies mindlessness. I can’t believe people got out of bed every morning and went to work for months to make this.
This movie annoys me on multiple levels. Much like Wish I Was Here, this extends all the way to the movie's title. I suppose Let's Be Cops DOES describe what it's about, but that title sounds super lazy to me. Come on, you couldn't have thought of something more creative than that? I don't recall if it's in trailer or not, but I bet they even utter that line of dialogue in the movie. Ugh. Sounds like the content of the movie isn't that great either. I'll pass.ReplyDelete
You're crazy John - brilliant title - they might not even know it yet, but they've launched a "Let's Be" franchise. I'm working on my "Let's Be Dentists" screenplay as we speak! Once that's a hit, and I get a bigger budget, "Let's Be Air Traffic Controllers" is next!Delete
And thanks Adam, feeling a little better about passing on this in favour of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles even though I'm sure it's not THAT bad!
Alright, Sol, as long as they (you?) don't run it into the ground with the likes of "Lets Be Meter Readers" and "Let's Be Receptionists."Delete
I'm really excited for "Let's Be Actors"Delete
Let's Be Cops is better than new Turtles.Delete
It is understandable that you didn't like it, Adam, especially if there were high hopes going in. I expected to hate this movie, but ended up being OK with it after the two or three good moments in the second act. I agree that the lead roles are sitcom-esque (and very similar to New Girl), the action sequences are bad, and most of the characters are cartoonish. But in a world where Blended grossed $121 million, at least this movie has a bit of sincerity behind it. Doesn't fulfill its potential, but isn't an entire waste, IMO.ReplyDelete
Thanks for commenting Ivan. I wish the movie wasn't sincere. This could have been great if it went the black comedy route or even The Blues Brothers route where these guys just didn't care about the repercussions. One thing that keeps bugging me about the movie is why they didn't just go become cops to begin with since they seem to genuinely want to be cops. JJ's character takes to the idea so much right away that it makes no sense that he never considered being a cop to begin with.Delete
Damn Blended made 121 million! I guess there's a lot of people going on date's. I've recently given up on Sandler. Just too many bland performancesReplyDelete
To me, the trailers for this movie always seemed like a lame cash in on the 21/22 Jump Street craze. I literally can picture Ice Cube in character in a dark room somewhere a few months back saying to the screenwriters of Let's Be Cops "Just try to Jump Street the sonofabitch".ReplyDelete
I really think the ending montage of 22 Jump Street hit the nail on the head, and Let's Be Cops looks like it would have fit in perfectly with one of those fake installments.