Directed by: Luke Greenfield
The one thing that I thought from this trailer was that it had an interesting concept but I thought it would be vanilla and safe. I like New Girl for what it is and the dynamic of the two leads is what brought me to this movie. This year has been an interesting year in comedy. Neighbors and 22 Jump Street both impressed at the box office but those are nothing stellar about them. Let’s Be Cops is another one that follows suit. For the most part I enjoyed what I was watching but it never impressed me. The comedy is the typical R-rated humor that is typically hit or miss with me. Comedy, like horror, is very subjective. Everyone has their own take on comedy and if it makes you laugh than it is successful for you. I thought 22 Jump Street accomplished what it set out to do but it felt like a bad sequel that recycled the plot but had a lot of good humor. Lets Be Cops is similar, in a sense.
Ryan Davis (Jake Johnson), a failed quarterback, and Justin Chang (Damon Wayans Jr.), a video game developer, attend their high school reunion, with a theme of a masquerade, dressed as cops. They begin to realize just how bad their lives have become. On their walk back to their apartment Ryan and Justin begin to notice that the people around them are intimidated by their uniforms. After a night of fun and debauchery Ryan gets the idea to impersonate cops so that they can cheat the system and gain more respect from those around them. Soon they begin to get out of control. One night they run into Officer Seagars (Rob Riggle) which leads them into a conspiracy that involves a madman drug dealer. Soon they realize they are way over their heads leading them way farther down the rabbit hole than they were expecting.
There was a lot that I liked about this movie. Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. are great together, they share a chemistry that worked well here and perfected suited the comedy at work. Jake Johnson seems to be playing Nick from New Girl but it seems to be what he is good at so I can’t complain. He is down on his luck and finds an opportunity to make his life into something new but that leads him into a bunch of uncontrollable situations. Damon Wayans Jr. is great as well and plays a tight ass who eventually changes his ways. Personally I feel that he is the most talented of his family and has a chance to have a well defined career. Outside of the comedy and the premise the movie is rather bland.
The core story isn’t anything new. The Other Guys, 21 Jump Street, and The Heat tried to do something similar and they succeeded while on the other hand Let’s Be Cops fails on that level. It ends up going the route of every movie of this caliber. The movie doesn’t try to be new or try something different it goes down the road that every comedy like this does. You have two unexperienced cops wrapped up in some type of conspiracy that is completely out of their hands. The villains are one note drug dealers who’s only purpose is to do evil things and look evil nothing else. The only developed characters are the two leads and the others are just there to progress the story.
The biggest thing that bugged me was the fact that the third act felt like a completely different movie. I’ll even go as far and say that the third act is extremely well done and the first two felt like they had a set goal and just improvised it. The third act made the movie interesting and worth seeing. It brings the idea that the real thing that they’ve gotten themselves into is much scarier than anyone can imagine. There is one scene in particular that I would label as a great scene. It starts with Damon Wayans Jr. narrating about his video game telling them that he wanted the view to experience what the real thing felt like. During this we have a scene with Ryan, scared out of his mind, making his way to his apartment having just learned that the villains will stop at nothing to kill him. The way that this scene was shot and edited belonged in a completely different movie. It actually used the plot line to it’s potential and showed just what the director is capable of.
It’s too bad that this and the third act really didn’t work in this movie. This movie had so much potential. The concept was funny but the execution was lacking. Even though I enjoyed the comedy side of this movie it is wholly uneven and feels like two completely different movies wrapped into one.