Kevin Smith Delivers Criminally Bad Cop Flick

    Cop Out

    Starring Bruce Willis & Tracy Morgan

    Directed by Kevin Smith

    Rated R

    Director Kevin Smith is a staple of our generation’s tender, angsty years. He is the man responsible for our loose, foul sense of humor—for our love of weird and hilarious back and forths.

    So sitting through “Cop Out,” Smith’s latest, felt akin to watching Mr. Rogers churn out smut films for spare cash. It’s easy to accept that our once fearless leader has moved on from his staple “Jay and Silent Bob” schtick, but his attempt at branching out has produced a filmmaking farce that’s enough to make you longingly weep for your adolescent glory days.

    The film runs like a mash-up of genres — and not in the pleasant way that makes crossbreeds interesting. Its funny points are weakened by violence; its action scenes dampened by dull moments of intimacy. Smith can’t seem to decide who his target audience is, and, as a result, disappoints everyone. “Cop Out” is so utterly confused about what kind of film it wants to be that the audience is permanently befuddled from the first scene to the closing credits.

    It probably doesn’t help that the script — which kicks off with Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan as cop buddies chasing after a stolen baseball card before spinning into a mess of drug dealers, money laundering, and eleven-year-old carjackers — was written by two white kids from Philadelphia. While the police are written plausibly and with occasional humor, what self-respecting Mexican drug lord utters politically correct phrases like “We gonna expand our drug trade?” The writing is half-baked — and not in the delightfully witty manner of a Smith staple. Had he actually penned the film, it may have had potential, but this misstep fails.

    That said, nothing could have saved Willis in this embarrassing role. Maybe Morgan is used to embodying such foolish characters — but Willis is the man who once played John McClane, Butch Coolidge and Corbin Dallas. Watching the face behind such icons debase himself in such a one-dimensional role is tough.

    Neither Willis nor Smith seems at peace in his role here. With absolutely no trace of the films we grew up loving, “Cop Out” leaves viewers with little more than a self-indulgent mess of blood and bad jokes. I guess we all have to grow up at some point and realize that Barney is just a man in a purple costume, and Smith is just a guy who needs a paycheck. 1 star

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