The film, about two struggling pals who dress as police officers for a costume party and get caught up in real life crime,
has been universally panned by critics. But as a fan of Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. on Fox’s “New Girl,” I had to check it out for myself. Unfortunately, the critics were right.
Here are five reasons why you should stay far away from “Let’s Be Cops.”
1. Countlless details are utterly implausible.
There’s not one sequence in “Let’s Be Cops” that seems believable. From the opening sequence, nothing we see on-screen registers as taking place in the real world, and crucial plot details are conveniently presented without any real attempt of an explanation.
Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin’s (Damon Wayans Jr.) trivial abuses of power eventually lead to real cases, but don’t bother scratching your head over the logistics of how two non-cops can show up to a crime scene and exit swiftly prior to the real ones ever showing up. Once real police officers start believing their schtick, all chances of believability are completely out the window.
2. We’ve seen this plot countless times.
The actual “plot” of the film is painfully familiar. The seeds are sowed in the opening sequence as Ryan and Justin get into an altercation with some intimidating looking thugs. Every buddy cop movie has its villains, and this time the “insert-intimidating-gangsters-here” that our fake cops happen to upset are Russian mobsters.
As an audience, we know it’s only a matter of time before these baddies rear their heads again, and the script offers a total of zero surprises as it goes through the motions. Anybody whose ever seen any other movie in the genre can accurately predict every single beat of the story, which makes it a real chore to sit through.
3. There are so many wasted opportunites.
The real kicker is that “Let’s Be Cops” is one of those dumb ideas that could be great. A buddy-cop movie where the two buddies aren’t actually cops is a funny logline, but the script is so weak that no matter how hard Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. try, it’s always an uphill battle.
Many cameos by talented comedians are also let-downs, with amazingly funny people like Natasha Leggero and Keegan-Michael Key relegated to unfunny caricatures. The biggest letdown has to be Rob Riggle as the legitimate police officer who just can’t get enough of Ryan and Justin’s wacky tactics. Riggle usually shines in bit roles like this (both “Jump Street” films, “The Other Guys“) but here he is given nothing to work with.
4. If the film keeps making money, it could spawn bad sequels.
It’s always troubling when inferior releases do so well at the box office, as Hollywood likes to follow trends. It wouldn’t be shocking if a “Let’s Be Cops” sequel gets announced later this week, as the film only cost $US17 million and has already grossed $26 million domestically thus far. At the very least, we will certainly see more of Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. on the silver screen.
5. It’s just not that funny.
When it comes down to it, all I expect from a comedy is laughter. If I laugh more than I groan, I consider that film a success. During the film’s gruelling 104 minutes, I laughed a total of three times, and two of those scenes were in the trailers.
The filmmakers seem to have mistaken useless banter for jokes, as almost every scene begins with Ryan and Justin disagreeing about what miraculously stupid thing they will do next and ends with them doing the exact thing they just spent five minutes bickering about. If you’re going to make a film this brazenly silly, at least have the audacity to go all-out, and no, that doesn’t mean using your R-rating to show us an obese man’s scrotum. In the right hands, “Let’s Be Cops” could have been a hilarious satire that skewered the genre, but instead we’re left with a hollow shell of what could have been.
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