out of Five
Running time: 107
Amiable if not very funny comedy thriller that scrapes a pass thanks to decent performances and surprisingly pacy direction from Kevin Smith.
What's it all about?
Directed (but not written) by Kevin Smith, Cop Out (originally titled A Couple of Dicks, until someone bottled it) stars Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan (30 Rock) as Jimmy Monroe and Paul Hodges, two Brooklyn cops who've been partners for nine years. When the pair get themselves suspended after a neighbourhood shoot-out, Jimmy turns his attentions to paying for his daughter's (Michelle Trachtenberg) £50,000 wedding, while Paul frets over suspicions of his wife's (Rashida Jones) infidelity and attempts to catch her at it by planting a hidden camera.
However, when a smart-mouthed thief (Seann William Scott) steals Jimmy's valuable baseball card (which he'd planned to sell to pay for the wedding), the pair find themselves having to make a deal with vicious gangster, murderer and baseball memorabilia collector Po' Boy (Guillermo Diaz) in order to get it back.
Smith directs with a surprisingly decent sense of pace, orchestrating competent chase scenes and shoot-outs with the air of someone who's spent a lot of time watching action movies. The acting is pretty good too: Willis resists the urge to mug and pretends he's in a serious cop thriller (which actually works), Diaz is suitably intense, Scott delivers a few mildly amusing moments and there's strong comic support from Adam Brody and Kevin Pollak as suspicious fellow cops Mangold and Hunsaker.
The film's biggest problem is that it just isn't all that funny, largely because Tracy Morgan isn't as hilarious as the filmmakers clearly think he is (He's still wearing his mobile phone costume when getting balled out by his boss! Oh, my sides, etc.). It also has scenes that no one seems to have realised are meant to be jokes, such as the fact that Po' Boy kills off most of his henchmen himself, just because they've disappointed him (these bits are played straight and concentrate on the violence rather than the comedy).
Cop Out works better as an occasionally amusing cop thriller than it does as an out-and-out comedy. As such, it's relentlessly average and not as funny as it should have been but it's never less than watchable and Willis acquits himself nicely.