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Monday, June 24, 2024
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Point-less blank

Grade: C-



It would be difficult for Kevin Smith to top the mess of a movie that was Jersey Girl, but he comes extremely close with his latest disappointment, Cop Out.


Smith directed this little gem, but luckily, he didn't write it. This is an unusual move on the director's part, since he is almost always involved in both processes. He even distanced himself from the movie, tweeting last December that it wasn't his movie but rather a movie he was hired to direct.


The screenwriters, Mark and Robb Cullen, know the basics of funny, yet know nothing about filmmaking. Smith does his best with the material, yielding decent results. What we get, as the title shamelessly implies, is a somewhat amusing buddy-cop comedy that has no point.


It's just there.


The film focuses on the unlikely duo of Brooklyn police detectives James 'Jimmy' Monroe (Bruce Willis, Surrogates) and Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan, Deep in the Valley), on the hunt for a rare baseball card. After getting suspended for a botched drug bust, the two devote all of their resources to recovering the precious collector's item.


They encounter a wacky but brutal Mexican drug dealer, who steals the card and blackmails them. The two race around New York in the hopes of …


Okay, that's enough. There's no need to explain any further. It's been done before.


What's disappointing about the movie is that it came from Kevin Smith, or at the very least was attached to his name. Smith is known for ribald humor and silly antics but also, and more importantly, a sense of sincerity in every one of his films.


Smith's movies are quite personal, both in the way they draw from his knowledge of cinema and in the way they deprecate movies themselves.


Ironically, Smith gives the impression that he doesn't take moviemaking seriously because, in his view, everything is a gag.


Of course, there could be nothing further from the truth. Smith loves movies. They are a part of culture, something that he both admires and rebels against. It's that juxtaposition that makes his films funny, original and often great.


Cop Out, however, fails. Ignoring the fact that it is hackneyed and formulaic, the movie is quite annoying. It's very dialogue-intensive, and the Cullens' ramblings are only somewhat funny. They get enough laughs, but that's mostly because of the actors and direction.


Still, the movie is decent enough. No one is expecting an Academy award (especially Bruce Willis, who has, surprisingly, never been nominated), and as the trailer and everything else about the movie suggests, it is just a bag of cheap laughs.


However, it would have been nice to see Smith at least try to revise the script. The only thing that drives the movie forward is Willis's and Morgan's performances.


Willis plays the same tired, cantankerous cop he's been doing for the past twenty years. No complaints, though. He's still fun to watch.


Which is more than one can say about Morgan. The comedian has a pudgy baby face and a silly demeanor that might attract some, yet leave most annoyed. It would behoove him to actually do something with his comedic skills besides make dumb voices and pout like a child for 110 minutes.


After seeing Cop Out, though, critics will be .



E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com



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