"COP OUT" (2010) Review
The moment I first saw the trailer for Kevin Smith’s new action comedy, ”COP OUT”, I knew I did not want to see it. The jokes in the trailer struck me as flat. Stars Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan seemed to lack any screen chemistry whatsoever. But since there were no other new movies out at the time, I went to see it anyway.
”COP OUT” told the story of two New York City Police detectives who found themselves suspended from the force after their efforts to nail a young Mexican immigrant gang banger with ties to a drug lord ends in failure. Police detectives Jimmy Monroe and Paul Hodges are drawn back into the case centered around drug lord Poh Boy inadvertently when Jimmy attempts to raise money for his daughter’s upcoming wedding by selling his father’s rare baseball card. Unfortunately, a petty thief named Dave steals the card and sells it to Poh Boy. The drug lord refuses to give Jimmy back the card, unless the latter and Paul finds a stolen car that contains something valuable for him.
There were aspects of ”COP OUT” that failed to appeal to me. One, Tracy Morgan’s little comedy routine that involved his character using clichéd movie lines to get a suspect to talk left me feeling irritated. As much as I like Sean William Scott (Dave, the petty thief), his role not only struck me as nearly irrelevant – aside from the baseball card theft – but also irritating. In fact, I believe I found him just as irritating as Tracy Morgan’s character did. And I wish to God that director Kevin Smith and the movie’s producers had not chosen Guillermo Diaz for the role of Poh Boy. In fact, I wish that Mark and Robb Cullen had not created the character in the first place. It must be one of the hammiest movie roles I have ever come across in the past decade.
Before anyone gets the idea that I found ”COP OUT” to be a complete waste of my time, I did not. I will never view this movie as a favorite of mine, or one of the best “cop buddy” films I have ever seen. But I must admit that the movie turned out to be better than I had expected. One of the movie’s strengths turned out to be the Cullens’ screenplay. Mind you, I found nothing particularly unique about it – save for the fact that the two protagonists ended up investigating the very case they had been kicked off, due to one of the heroes’ family crisis. Two, Smith directed a well-paced story filled with some pretty good humor and a great deal of action. In other words, the movie kept me awake. Last but not least, both Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan managed to create a viable screen chemistry, despite my misgivings from the trailer. Which surprised me a great deal. Willis and Morgan almost came off as a modern-day Abbott and Costello.
Actually, both Willis and Morgan managed to portray a pair of interesting characters. Willis’ Jimmy Monroe was a down-to-earth man with a failed marriage and a partner he has to keep from drifting off to Neverland. And yet, his Jimmy has a quirky, yet occasionally sadistic sense of humor that I found attractive. Although Morgan’s Paul Hodges started off as an irritating character, I eventually warmed up to him. Morgan portrayed Paul as a warm and extroverted man who harbors a great deal of affection for his partner and love for his wife – even if that love threatened to transform into an overwhelming jealousy.
Despite my complaints about Sean William Scott’s character, the petty thief Dave, I must admit that I found him occasionally funny. I certainly enjoyed Ana de la Reguera’s performance as Gabriela, the mistress of a murdered criminal whom Jimmy and Paul found in the trunk of the very car wanted by Poh Boy. Gabriela possessed something that Poh Boy wanted. More importantly, de la Reguera’s performance struck me as warm, funny and very feisty. As I had stated earlier, I did not care for Guillermo Diaz’s performance as the drug lord Poh Boy. Quite frankly, I found it too over-the-top for my tastes. I suppose Smith wanted Diaz to portray Poh Boy as psychotic. I just simply found him annoying. Kevin Pollak and Adam Brody portrayed Hunsaker and Mangold, two N.Y.P.D. detectives that happened to be Jimmy and Paul’s rivals. Personally, I found their performances unmemorable. And there were moments when I wondered if Pollak seemed bored with his role. I certainly was.
I suspect that ”COP OUT” has failed to become a hit film in the three weeks since its release. It is not what I would call an original film. There seemed to be a hint of originality in the plot involving one of the lead’s family crisis and the main villain. Yet, it struck me as a typical action comedy from the 1980s and 90s. Some of the characters either irritated me or struck me as irrelevant. And I did not care for the main villain. But I still enjoyed the movie’s story and humor. The pacing did not drag, thanks to Kevin Smith’s direction. And Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan made a surprisingly effective screen team. In the end, I would not mind seeing it again.