By Thomas Tracy
Finally, a movie that lives up to its name!
“Cop Out,” indy director icon Kevin Smith’s unexpected move to more mainstream projects starts strong but falls apart pretty quickly as this quirky homage to the buddy cop movies that dominated the 80s, ends up becoming nothing more than a formulaic farce.
In the time-tested “shoot your mouth off and then shoot everything around you” tradition found at the core of memorable cop movies like “48 Hours,” “Tango and Cash,” “Running Scared,” “Beverly Hills Cop” and the unforgettable “Turner and Hooch,” “Cop Out” follows the misadventures of mismatched Brooklyn cops Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) and Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan).
From the outset it’s pretty clear that the crazed and crotchety crime fighters shouldn’t be considered among New York’s Finest, especially when they get suspended for shooting up half of Kensington (Morgan’s Hodges is videotaped stealing a kids bike as he pursues the suspect).
But a small thing like a suspension isn’t going to stop Monroe from making good on his promise to pay for his daughter’s wedding, even if he has to sell a super valuable baseball card from the 1950s.
Thus begins a series of surprising coincidences that can only be found in these heavy on the brawn, light on the brains buddy films -- Morgan loses the cherished collectible during a robbery but quickly tracks the card to -- gee whiz! -- the drug dealer involved in the shooting that got them suspended in the first place -- apparently the only drug dealer in the area (come on guys its Brooklyn, not Nome, Alaska!).
Things pretty much go downhill from there.
Instead of maintaining the comedic overtones that marked the beginning of the film, Smith (“Clerks,” “Chasing Amy”) apparently throws up his hands, making no attempts to pull the film from the downward spiral it finds itself in, leaving it a B movie in the buddy cop genre, albeit one with a synthesized Axel F-inspired soundtrack.
Through it all, a surprisingly humorous Morgan keeps everyone mildly entertained, at least for the first half hour. Willis, plays an adequate straight man and manages to shoot off sly winks to the cop films in his own flexography (he can’t place where the line “Yippy ki yay mother f--ker” comes from.)
But the best laughs come from the one with the least amount of screen time -- Dave, the zany “poop burglar,” played by Sean William Scott.
Borough movie goers will get an extra charge from “Cop Out” since all of the action happens on the streets of Brooklyn. Scenes were filed in Bay Ridge, Sheepshead Bay, the 18th Avenue subway station and Green-Wood Cemetery.
"Cop Out." Starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. Written by Mark and Robb Cullen. Directed by Kevin Smith. Running time:107 minutes. Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, violence and brief sexuality.
Playing in Brooklyn at Access Digital Theatres - Pavilion Cinema in Park Slope, downtown at UA Court Street Stadium 12, UA Sheepshead Bay 14, Kent Theatre in Coney Island, Bay Ridge Alpine Cinemas, and Linden Boulevard Multiplex Cinemas in East New York.