“Cop Out” is a crass, tasteless action-comedy directed by Kevin Smith, who is the man responsible for the entire View Askewniverse as well as the creation of the characters Jay and Silent Bob. His credits as director-writer include both “Clerks” movies, “ Chasing Amy”, “Mallrats” and “Dogma,” and he specializes in combining over-the-top raunchy dialogue and a surprising amount of heart to his films. This time around, Smith takes responsibility only as director and left the script to brothers Mark and Robb Cullen.
New York officers Jimmy (Bruce Willis) and Paul (Tracy Morgan) have been working together for nine years as the film starts out. Jimmy is a divorced officer who, even in old age, knows his way around crime (well, kind of). Paul is a loud, dim-witted individual who frequently quotes directly from movies he likes when interrogating criminals (even including “Die Hard,” a Bruce Willis vehicle). After an unsuccessful investigation and pursuit attempt, both cops are finally laid off for negligent behavior.
Meanwhile, Jimmy’s daughter Ava (Michelle Trachtenberg) is to be married in the not-to-distant future. Ava wants a large dream wedding that costs upwards of $40,000, which her stepfather (Jason Lee) is perfectly ready and willing to pay for (mainly just to 1-up Jimmy). Jimmy, however, feels the need to pay for it considering he is her real father, he cares for her happiness more than anything, and (most importantly) because the stepfather is an epic tool.
Jimmy’s plan to come up with the money is to sell a vintage baseball card he has kept from his childhood. A recent auction for that particular card garnered up to $80,000, so it seems like there would be no holes at all with this arrangement, correct? But as he takes it into a nearby pawn shop, the place gets held up and the criminals swipe the card from him. Now begins a long search for the card and an opportunity to bust a large criminal organization and redeem themselves for being canned. Along the way, they encounter an annoying, drug-crazed criminal (Seann William Scott) who, along with an accomplice, robbed the card, a Mexican hostage named Gabriela (Ana de la Reguera) and a trash-talking car dealer who is about ten years old.
Most of the film is largely based on just providing laughs rather than a compelling story, but that aspect did not bother me as much as it usually does. While more than a few handful of jokes fell flat for me, there were also just as many that I couldn’t help but chuckle at. Sure, the humor can be classified as juvenile and sometimes wears out its’ welcome (and make no mistake, it wasn’t “laugh out loud” for me), it didn’t quite grate on my nerves as much as I thought it would from seeing the previews. Sure the characters may come off as just way too stupid or way too obnoxious for some viewers. I absolutely agree to that statement, but with low expectations I was able to suspend my disbelief through the whole viewing experience.
Now I still say that “Cop Out” is a watch-at-your-own-risk movie. According to RottenTomatoes.com, I am one of the 20% of the 110 total reviews that gave a somewhat positive outlook toward the movie. Maybe I’m not exposed to the genre as much as I should be. Maybe stupid humor just happens to appeal to me more than to the average viewer. Either way you look at it, I cannot deny that I had a fun time with “Cop Out.”
As a closing statement, I ask fellow critics this question: How can you knock this movie so bad for pushing the envelope as far as “toilet humor” is concerned while still giving a positive review for one of Smith’s other films, “Clerks II?” There is a particularly unappealing scene of that movie (everyone who has seen it knows EXACTLY what I’m talking about) that goes on much, much longer than anything unrefined this movie had to offer.