3 StarsA surprisingly violent and funny throwback to 1980’s action/comedies from director Kevin Smith, who is able to squeeze a healthy amount of laughs from the pairing of stars Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. The film starts out promisingly with a vintage Beastie Boys cut over a slow motion shot of the leads walking toward camera. Heading into an interrogation sequence that is unlike any you’ve seen before. Morgan is a first class clown, and he’s able to provide a few chuckles along the way. Yet the film moves in ebbs and flows.
Jimmy (Willis) and Paul (Morgan) are NYPD detectives and semi-friends. After a disastrous stakeout that goes awry the pair are suspended. Cash strapped and full of desperation Jimmy decides to pawn his prized possession; a valuable Baseball card that is going to pay for his daughter’s impending wedding. It’s not a great idea, but it’s original. The only problem is that Willis gives one of the dullest performances of his career. Luckily Smith has a wild man in the live-wire comedic instincts of the supremely talented Morgan. Jason Lee (a Smith regular) shows up in a cameo and does the best piece of ‘real’ acting in the picture. An unexpected surprise is the presence of Sean William Scott as a perpetually juvenile convict. His fifteen minutes enliven the film when the narrative starts to drag.
Smith working for the first time from someone’s script does a adequate job in the action sequences. Suggesting that he may have learned a thing or two from director Len Wiseman on the set of ‘Live Free or Die Hard’. The fantastic score is extremely reminiscent of Harold Faltmeyer’s electronic classics that provided the soundtrack to films like ‘Fletch’ and ‘Beverly Hills Cop’. If ‘Cop Out’ is memorable for anything its in dispelling the notion that Smith is a filmmaker of limited skill. Admittedly the film plays lighter and looser on the small screen where you can reverse and listen closely to some of the verbal gems emitting from Morgan. One of the best comedies of 2010.