You’ve seen the action-comedy blend in Cop Out, the new movie starring Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis, dozens of times before. Of course, recycling ideas and stereotypes is nothing new in Hollywood. But this kind of movie has been done far better with less obvious punch lines and annoying characters.
The story revolves around two Brooklyn cops: Jimmy Monroe (Willis) and Paul Hodges (Morgan). They have been partners for nine years, using unorthodox tactics to bust criminals. But a botched undercover operation gets them suspended for one month without pay, a major issue for Monroe. He needs the money to pay for his daughter’s wedding – and fast. He plans to sell a baseball card worth $83,000 to cover his daughter’s $48,000 bill. But the plan goes bust after the card is stolen. Monroe and Hodges track down the thief (a childish, parkour-practicing dopehead played by Seann William Scott) and unwittingly find themselves in the middle of a drug kingpin’s plot to take over the New York drug trade.
The requisite cop-movie elements are in place: shoot-outs, car chases, sexy hostages, and loony Latino villains. Poh Boy, the kingpin played by Guillermo Diaz, is so over-the-top, his mannerisms and dialogue so stereotypical, I just knew a Mexican defamation group would be outside the theater after the screen went to black.
But he isn’t the only one who hurts the film, which isn’t that strong to begin with. Willis is on autopilot here, playing his usual character: the rough-edged cop good for an intermittent wisecrack when he isn’t shooting at crooks or brooding over his raggedy personal life.
Morgan’s attempts at playing the profane, cool black sidekick bomb most of the time. Halfway through the flick, you already know how it’s going end. Sitting through this toothache of a film makes one appreciate the volatile, commercial hits of 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cops. Those movies, whose formula Cop Out desperately tries to tweak, were done with far more finesse and with classic comedic timing. The forced and awkward feel of Cop Out makes you long for the days when the action-comedy blend went down more smoothly.