Cop Out (A.K.A. “All the other good movie titles were taken so we got stuck with this one”)

Painful to watch. Absurd story line. Dull action. Slow moving train wreck. Those are the words I am using to describe Bruce Willis’ and Tracy Morgan’s new movie “Cop Out.”  Five being the number of times I laughed in the almost two-hour long tragedy. Although, I think it was intended to be a comedy.

The story begins with Jimmy (Willis) and Paul (Morgan) interrogating a suspect in a drug case. It also happens to be their nine-year anniversary of being partners on the NYPD.  Laugh No. 1: the interrogation scenes were partially funny because Paul, while physically and verbally abusing his suspect, was quoting cop movies he had seen.  The scene does take a clever jab at a Willis movie.

The film quickly moves into the typical 1980s buddy cop movie. I think that the writers simply Netflixed the entire buddy cop genre one weekend and wrote notes on what they thought was funny. Robb and Mark Cullen wrote the screenplay and Kevin Smith of “Clerks” fame directed.

Jimmy and Paul go on an assignment and make a few mistakes that results in losing their badges for 30 days. Who takes their badges away? It is the stereotypical angry police captain that has had enough of their antics. Sorry, seen it before, guys.

Jimmy soon finds himself in a situation where he needs $48,000 and is without a job. Oh no, how will Jimmy ever find a way get the money? It turns out that Jimmy has a very valuable baseball card and when he goes to sell the card, it’s stolen by Dave (Seann William Scott). The card ends up in the hands of a ruthless Mexican gang leader who houses baseball memorabilia worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in a $25,000 home in the ghetto.

During this train wreck, I couldn’t find a time where I really cared about any of the characters; Willis seemed to be phoning most of his lines into the movie. Morgan was being, well, Tracy Morgan. That was actually a good thing. He plays the sensitive dumb wit so well that it’s fun to watch him on “30 Rock.” But, when I can watch him be a goofball for free on Thursday nights, why would I pay $10 on Friday to watch him to play the same character?

The rest of the story is about Jimmy trying to get his baseball card back from the Mexican gang who is using Jimmy and Paul to retrieve a stolen Mercedes. Dave comes back into the story with laugh No. 2 where they have a juvenile joke fest while figuring out if Paul’s wife is cheating on him. Laugh No. 3 comes soon after that with a little physical pain to an 11-year-old boy (I don’t advocate violence upon children, but I will laugh at it when it is done right). The story moves slowly into finding an angry Mexican woman. I assume the casting agent hired her because she is pretty and she could scream/ curse in Spanish for the remaining 45 minutes of the film.

Laugh No. 4 and the last one (Sorry, there was no laugh No. 5. I was giving the movie a handicap out of pity), was when the credits were rolling. It takes place in a morgue and as far as morbid pranks are concerned it was funny. Again the joke was by Scott, which makes me ask – why didn’t he get his name on the movie poster? He did most of the work.

There you have it, a 1980s cop comedy that would have been funny 25 years ago. Maybe it was paying homage to the cop comedies we grew up on but then again maybe this is simply a lost cause. Pay attention to the musical score and you’ll hear the 1980s Casio Synthesizer used in movies like “Fletch” and “Beverly Hills Cop.” It brought me back to a simpler time when these jokes were fresh and new.

Should you see this movie? Please don’t. Save your $10, watch “30 Rock” and rent “Die Hard” and you’ll see Willis and Morgan in their best elements.

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