The plot revolves around two cops Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) and Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan), partners for over nine years. Jimmy’s daughter Ava (Michelle Trachtenberg) is getting married soon and he cannot afford to cover the lavish wedding she has planned. Jimmy refuses to let Ava’s new stepdad (Jason Lee) cover the cost of the wedding, and opts to sell a cherished baseball card as a last resort. Unfortunately for Jimmy the card is stolen by a two bit criminal, Dave (Sean William Scott), and eventually ends up in the hands of a gangster named Poh Boy (Guillermo Díaz). As luck would have it, Poh Boy is the mastermind behind a cellphone racket that Jimmy and Paul are trying to bring down.
There is also a subplots involving an abducted woman, two rival cops (Kevin Pollak and Adam Brody), and Jimmy’s wife (Rashida Jones) who may be cheating. None of which, like the movie itself, really warrant any real discussion. The film is just awful on so many levels. I cannot even call Cop Out the poor-man’s version of Lethal Weapon or Beverly Hills Cop which are both heavy influences on this film. This is more like the poor-man’s version of Rush Hour 3 minus the cultural differences. Somehow Tracy Morgan manages to be even more annoying than Chris Tucker was in that film. I had my fill of Morgan after the interrogation scene...which was in the first fifteen minutes of the film! To be honest, I would have rather preferred Jason Lee in the Tracy Morgan role, as he provided the only real laugh in the whole film. Plus he seemed to have actual chemistry with Bruce Willis.
Speaking of Bruce Willis, he never lets himself be engulfed by the silliness of the film. Even his comedic lines are delivered in his rigid tough guy tone. He is as dull as that guy at the company office party who only wants to talk your ear off about the time he wore mismatched socks to work. Seriously, Willis displayed more comedic chops in Live Free or Die Hard than he does in this film. I was waiting for the moment where Willis looked at his watch and asked the director, Kevin Smith, when this trash would be over. Sadly that scene never arrived.
I cannot fathom how Kevin Smith could have made a film this awful given the talent he has in regards to comedy. I have heard many people try and justify the film by pointing out that Smith did not actually write this film. How does that make it any better? Regardless of whether he wrote the film or not, he was the one calling the shots behind the camera. Now I have been a long time Kevin Smith fan and have defended him on more than one occasion in various movie discussions. Yet there is no defending this film. The action scenes in this film, as well as the editing, are horrendous. I could not understand how such a big budget film could have action sequences that were this dull and cheap looking.
While Cop Out will not stop Kevin Smith’s career from moving forward, it definitely signals a low point in his canon of work. Still at the end of the day, I only have myself to blame. The warning signs were there and I foolishly ignored them.