the first few minutes into Kevin Smith’s latest film,
detective Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) criticizes partner
Paul Hodges’ (Tracy Morgan) movie quoting interrogation
technique as ineffective. Hodges then explains to Monroe,
that it’s Hom-Age, like a tribute to those who have
come before. Before Monroe can explain that Hodges is talking
about homage, Hodges is off to question the suspect in a
hilarious, movie quoting riot.
way, it’s as if Kevin Smith is foreshadowing our movie-going
experience with his foray into the buddy cop genre of films
made popular in the eighties. Because once Cop Out
gets started, it’s nothing but Hom-Age to all the
things that made those movies great.
Hodges and Monroe botch a stakeout with an informant, they’re
placed on a thirty day suspension without pay. This poses
a problem as Monroe’s little girl (the always stunning,
always radiant Michelle Trachtenberg) is set to have a wedding
with an enormous price tag. In order to save face with his
ex-wife, keep his pride with her new husband (The excellently
chest hairy Jason Lee) and pay for the impending nuptials,
he is forced to sell his priced possession: a rare, mint
condition baseball card.
the card and Hodge's piece are boosted by the parkour using
Doody Bandit Dave (scene stealer Sean William Scott), Monroe
and Hodges find themselves in deep water. The trail of the
missing loot leads them to cross paths with the Mexican
crime lord Poh Boy (Half Baked and Weeds’
Guillermo Díaz), looking to expand his empire and
find his missing Mercedes.
isn’t without family drama as well. He suspects his
all too tasty wife (the seriously tasty Rashida Jones) of
having an affair with the neighbor. Preoccupied with his
brewing problems at home, Hodges finds a distraction with
a newly found Latina witness named Gabriella (Nacho
Libre’s Ana de la Reguera) and soon finds his
own fidelity in question.
the while, the smart-ass rival detectives to Monroe and
Hodges – Hunsaker and Mangold (played perfectly here
by Kevin Pollack and Adam Brody) are on the case as Poh
Boy and his gang start leaving body after body across the
like it’s a lot to digest, Cop Out plays
out surprisingly very well. It might feel like it’s
dragging at times, but it’s only to serve the grander
story set in motion. There are times when the audience is
asked to recall many plot lines set forward from earlier,
but in the end it all pays off if you’re mildly paying
then there’s the homage. Seriously, if you were a
fan of all those eighties buddy cop movies (ie, 48 Hours,
Beverly Hills Cop, Running Scared, Red Heat, Collision Course
etc.) where big action stars were teamed with madcap silly
comedians from the day, then Cop Out won’t
disappoint. From the second the action starts and the buddy
cop synth eighties music starts playing (Smith even brought
in Beverly Hills Cop composer Harold Faltermeyer
to do the soundtrack) we’re transported to the time
of Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy, Schwarzenegger and Belushi
and Leno and Morita.
the homage of Cop Out doesn’t stop with the
music. Pretty much all the beats of this film are straight
from those who came before.
guy cop and hilarious goof off partner (48 Hrs?).
Mexican ganglord everyone’s chasing (Jimmy Smits in
Running Scared?) Rival detectives where one just
happens to be the smart one and the other is the young and
impressionable nerd (Taggert and Rosewood in Beverly
Hills Cop)? Adam Brody does his best Judge Reinhold
I assure you and Pollack is no stranger to the genre (see
Ricochet, Clean Slate and End of Days).
Ex-wives, jealous new husbands, pissed off police captains,
cheating wives at home, hot rescued hostages, comical criminal
informants, and the list goes on for days. Some could argue
it’s derivative and unoriginal, but then they probably
don’t understand homage.
is a child of the eighties, an auteur who grew up watching
John Hughes films and reading comic books. Who better then
to resurrect the always crowdpleasing genre of the buddy
cop film? What I liked most about Cop Out is that
this is not a slick, Michael Bay reboot of the game, but
a throwback to what we liked most about these films.
it comes down to it, this is a story about a couple of dicks
on a mission. It’s about a couple of partners who’ve
had each other’s back for over nine years and this
is their latest adventure.
is on cruise control in this one, but only because he’s
pretty much the guy who defined the role he’s playing.
He’s still effective and strong and his care for the
role keeps the story grounded in reality. Morgan is completely
out of this world.
of his best roles, Tracy Morgan basically is allowed to
go crazy in this film and he actually proves why he’s
the star everyone has been saying he is. He’s not
without fault, and at times the Hodges character is somewhat
of a cartoon. But for being the comic relief of this movie,
we can forgive him as he has us rolling in the aisles laughing.
Most of the other laughs come from the always charming Sean
William Scott. The guy is on fire in this film and his confidence
in this role is hysterical.
titled A Couple of Cop Suckers, then changed to
A Couple of Dicks (as in detectives), Smith had
to compromise with the studio and get a more marketable
name for this action comedy and in an almost poetic solution,
Cop Out was chosen as the title.
also noteworthy is that this is the first film that Smith
directed that he didn’t write. However, there is a
lot of Smith smeared all over this film in the subtle dialogue
exchanges and gross-out, sophomore humor.
as what Smith accomplished with Cop Out, he not
only achieves success with his first real action movie,
but he pulls off a great homage to a lost genre of film
that many may have written off as just a fad. Actually,
Smith’s love of said genre and his tribute to it here
may make some yearn for better days.