Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, violence and brief sexuality, 108 minutes
Morgan's a hoot in the tired police buddy comedy "Cop Out"
"Cop Out" is more of a sellout for the unconventionally funny director of such films as "Clerks" and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." That director, Kevin Smith, doesn't lack talent but you wouldn't know it by his latest forgettable big-budgeted Hollywood buddy comedy that wears thin after a few minutes. Willis is more of the straight man to "30 Rock" comedian Tracy Morgan, who provides "Cop Out" with its only genuinely funny moments.
Willis is Jimmy, Morgan is Paul, two veteran New York City cops. After a failed bust, they're suspended, which is bad timing given that Jimmy's daughter (Michelle Trachtenberg) is about to have a lavish wedding and he needs the funds to pay for it. Jimmy hopes to sell a rare baseball card but is held up by a petty, talky thief named Dave (Seann William Scott), who ends up selling the card to a drug dealer named Poh Boy (Guillermo Diaz). Jimmy and Paul risk life, limb and careers to get the card back and bring down Poh Boy in the process.
Flat, silly and a strictly paint-by-numbers buddy police comedy, "Cop Out" will entertain the masses for a minute or two and will be amused by Morgan's antics, which the film relies heavily on as it goes on. What is truly remarkable about the movie is how many talented actors it wastes in the process. Watch for the film's most unfortunate and most unfunny comedic bit, as Kevin Pollack and Adam Brody (yes, that Adam Brody from "The O.C.") as two straight-laced detectives running parallel to Willis and Morgan. The lovely Rashida Jones from "Parks and Recreation" is also wasted as Paul's pretty wife, whom he fears is having an affair; watch for Smith film alumnus Jason Lee in a needless cameo as the younger husband to Jimmy's ex-wife.
Willis phones it in playing a role he can play in his sleep, giving his usually grumpy performance, leaving Morgan, an often funny but largely untested comic actor, to carry the film on his shoulders. Whether spouting a myriad of movie catchphrases (including one of Willis') or crying like a baby it's his seemingly unforced humor that infuses "Cop Out" with some much-needed energy, even if he mugs for the camera too much. Scott, whose best moments are seen in the ubiquitous trailers for the film, has a couple of amusing moments in a very small part; by the way, he and Morgan make for the better buddy team than he and Willis (and stay over for the credits to see the film's funniest moment).
What is most unfortunate about "Cop Out" is the fact that such a seemingly sharp director as Smith helmed (he's made it clear he's only the director-for-hire here as if he knows the film is bad) such a poorly constructed film and a contrived, predictable script that starts out OK but falls apart in its mid-section and tries to come back together in the final, unmemorable shoot-out.
At least Willis and Morgan cuss a lot and seem to have fun jacking around shooting guns, a far better time than you'll have on a Southwest Airlines flight, but you didn't hear that from me. If you plan on seeing the forgettable "Cop Out" you may want to do so soon, as it may not be around long.