In an early scene in Cop Out, Tracy Morgan interrogates a suspect by inhabiting the roles of a schizophrenic range of film characters plucked from the cop genre. Bruce Willis watches from behind the glass naming each impression until Morgan inevitably blurts out, “Yippee-ki-yay mother f***er!” Willis retorts: “Never heard that one”.
From the outset Cop Out declares itself as a “homage” to the films that came to define the Hollywood of the 1980s. The loose narrative – that involves a Latino drug gang and a stolen baseball card – takes a back seat to Willis’ and Morgan’s comic bantering with the latter stealing the show.
There is a fine supporting cast which includes a foul mouthed adolescent car thief and Sean Williams Scott who puts in an admirable turn as a parkour-trained cat burglar employed to steal back the baseball card that will pay for Willis’ daughter’s wedding. Scott is the stand-out performance, blessed with the best comedic moments the film has to offer, outperforming Willis by a considerable distance.
There are still unfortunate traces of Kevin Smith’s later body of work where crude sexual innuendo or puerile descriptions of ‘disgusting’ acts fill in for actual jokes but it undeniably stands up as Smith’s best film in years which is to be commended considering the dramatic nosedive his career has taken of late. Perhaps benefiting from working with a script not of his own creation, he manages to put together a technically – if rigidly conventional – accomplished film.
A wealth of bad reviews greeted this latest offering from the Clerks director which is strange considering that it’s a largely inoffensive, occasionally funny buddy movie that appears to see itself for what it is and revels in playing off the conventions of the genre. Taken with a pinch of salt it’s a fairly enjoyable mouthful of popcorn fair that doesn’t merit the slandering in the press it has received thus far.
By no means hilarious or original it is hard to rage against a film that is so light hearted and keen on pleasing the audience however much they might miss the mark. It’s no Clerks but it’s no Zack & Miri Make A Porno either.