It's easy to cast an odd couple in a movie, counting on their unexpected pairing for the initial draw. For Cop Out, that couple is Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan, a seasoned action vet and a live-wire comic. It's an inspired pair, and though there are some laughs in this caper, there's also a lot of laziness that makes this movie . . . wait for it . . . a total cop out.
As Jimmy and Paul, the straight man and goofy screw-up who have been police partners for nine long years, Willis and Morgan induce chuckles just by interacting in the beginning. Where director Kevin Smith goes wrong is relying too much on the sight gag of the polar opposites together.
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Working off of a script by Mark and Rob Cullen rather than his own writing, you'd think that Smith's director trademarks would be subdued. You'd be wrong. There are plenty of penis jokes, rivaled only by the amount of poop jokes. I'm not a total stick-in-the-mud; I'll laugh at a poop joke if it's funny, but when it's being invoked repeatedly for shock value, I get bored. These kinds of easy laughs dominate the movie's dialogue, which isn't just mind-numbing, it's a waste of talent — particularly Morgan's. The actor's delivery is spot-on in each episode of 30 Rock, but he comes off as an oafish dummy in this role.
Did I mention that the plot of the movie is that Jimmy and Paul are in pursuit of a valuable baseball card? No, I didn't yet because that simple storyline becomes so overstuffed with wacky characters and vignettes that you completely forget the point of the expedition.
I will give it up for Seann William Scott as a Parkour-practicing petty criminal who keeps crossing paths with the duo. But, when the funniest scenes in the movie belong to a peripheral character, can that really be a victory? It's par for the course for Cop Out, which manages to be a succession of low comedy mixed with a few good laughs — and too many stumbles.
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Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.