Directed by Kevin Smith
Starring Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Rashida Jones, Sean William Scott, Jason Lee, Kevin Pollak, Guillermo Diaz, Michele Trachtenberg
At first, they were going to call this movie A Couple of Dicks, then the movie worked under or was considered for 3 other names. They ended up with, Cop Out. The Wiktionary definition of “cop out” is:
“To avoid or shirk, either by failing to perform, or by performing in a grossly insufficient, negligent, or superficial manner.”
Honestly, the review could end right there, but that, too would be a cop out, so here goes…
Most of the time, when I watch Kevin Smith movies, I can tell exactly what impression he is wanting me to have with each scene. This would be a good thing, were it not for the fact that I should not be thinking of what the director was thinking while making a film while I am actually watching the director’s film. Earlier this week, I watched Inception. As I watched, I did not contemplate the names of the director, producer or any of the actors. I had no thoughts of “how far Leonardo DiCaprio has come”, “Juno sure seems confident for such a young actress”, “why has Nolan wasted his time directing Batman films,” etc., etc., etc…until well after the credits rolled. Up to that point, I was quite consciously immersed in one dream state after another, attempting to distinguish each, and trying to figure out how I was going to avoid being trapped for 50 years inside one, 3 levels deep.
Watching this movie, question after question popped into my mind, particularly because there was nothing within the movie for my brain to do, namely, processing “comic” bits as laughter. Here are a list of those questions:
- Why is Tracy Morgan considered funny? Near as I can tell, his shtick is that of a mentally challenged adult who might have a problem living on his own, unassisted.
- Why is Bruce Willis constantly in comedies that are not funny and action films that are? Even the worst Die Hard movie, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, was consistently more funny than this film.
- Does Kevin Smith really think actual descriptions of having to poop are still considered a “hip” form of humor? His selections on what to keep in and what to leave out in this first film that he directed but did not write make it feel like he wrote it anyway. This is not a good sign.
- What does it say about Sean William Scott, that even in a reduced role, I am thinking of ways that he might be even funnier if that role had been reduced further? He feels like that cousin that you have good memories about, but don’t want to create new ones with.
- Did they lift every scene with Kevin Pollak and Adam Brody out of Stakeout? And why do I like Stakeout less now than I did in the 80’s? Oh, that’s right: Richard Dreyfus.
- Why is Michele Trachtenberg considered attractive? Honestly, I can see her roots. Not attractive.
- Does Jason Lee ever just get tired of being tied to Kevin Smith? He really looks bored.
- Why do I not like Richard Dreyfus? Probably for a reason similar to why I don’t like most actors from the 70’s.
- Why did Kevin Smith treat cold-blooded murder in a church with less reverence than the shooting of an “Andy Pafko” baseball card?
Do you suppose he fails to understand why it took the U.S. so long to actually apprehend Manuel Noriega? I know that baseball stadiums can be considered “cathedrals,” but I think Smith may have made a mistaken value judgement here.
- How thankful should we be that Kevin Smith was overlooked as writer and director of a Superman Movie? Singer’s Superman Returns was an overlooked gem, but think where that franchise would be, if Smith had been allowed to place his special brand of poop jokes somewhere in the script.
- Why would Tracy Morgan’s movie wife let him off so easily with his attempt to catch her in the act of infidelity on film? I suppose I, like Morgan’s character, should feel lucky that she wasn’t actually cheating, and just leave it at that.
- How could Bruce Willis agree to such a lame series of movie reference jokes (Morgan’s “homage”) that would include a reference to Die Hard, only to have him say he’s never seen it? The only way that joke could work is…well, there is no way that joke could work.
- Is anybody ever surprised that the buddy cops are either a) suspended at the beginning of the movie or b) in either a state of marital distress or divorce? I am surprised when the cop can have a normal life, outside of the job.
- Who made the decision to put the cheesy keyboard song from the 80’s in the soundtrack? Really, do we need MORE references to Stakeout? Really? Really?
- Is this the first time a buddy cop movie has not started out with the cops meeting and immediately taking a dislike to each other and instead celebrated their ninth year together of still not really liking each other? I don’t really care enough about that to seek an answer.
- Is it really wise to describe your feelings for your detective partner’s daughter with “I love you like a fat kid loves cake,” if you consider that most fat kids really just want to eat the cake?
The thinking process has pretty at a crawl by the end of this movie, which is about twice the speed it started at. If you have to watch every Bruce Willis film or just one Tracy Morgan film…you can still skip this one.
(*1/2 out of *****)