Cop Out is the kind of film that shows you the proof is in the pudding, meaning all the pre-release news, trailers and other miscellanea don’t give you a true insight into the quality of a film. Examples here are plentiful. There is of course the title controversy – Kevin Smith, the director (this was the first film he directed that he did not write), wanted to name the film A Couple of Dicks after a line in the film and using the archaic slang for detective as a double entendre. That was shot down for advertising reasons as the title would limit their TV ads to late night. Then the trailer looked funny in parts and in others not so much. Anyway, I digress.
Cop Out is one hell of a movie that proves that Kevin Smith knows how to make a funny movie, whether he penned it or not, but it also does much more than that. It also ends up being a pretty good action crime movie at the same time, and what’s more neither of the two is ever struggling with the other. They balance perfectly together right from the first viewing. It’s in the neighborhood of the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg “Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy” (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, third film yet to be) in terms of being a spoof, an homage and a film of the genre at the same time.
The film benefits tremendously from the unlikely pairing of Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. They’re not the first two you’d think of when trying to pick foils but man did it ever work here. However, a comedy can only be a true success when it also has memorable turns from the supporting cast. This film also has the benefit of that in many areas. First there’s Seann William Scott, who it may be safe to say has never been better, as the wild Parkour-practicing criminal the partners frequently run into. Then there’s Susie Essman in a very memorable one scene appearance as a woman who is being robbed and who takes no crap. And most importantly amongst the supporting stars is Ana de la Reguera as Gabriela, the Spanish-speaking kidnapping victim they happen upon.
The soundtrack to this film is noticeably good and does have a few toe-tappers that complement the score, which was somewhat reminiscent of action films of the 1980s, quite nicely.
The film starts with a very funny scene illustrating Paul’s (Tracy Morgan) odd interrogation techniques, which not only set the film up as an homage but also gets him the information he was after. The scene that follows that will kick the film off and send them on their mission as rogue cops. It’s a really well-structured beginning. Also, there is some character-building in as much as Jimmy (Bruce Willis) has a personal stake in retrieving something stolen from him which he planned to sell in order to pay for his daughter’s wedding. While Paul is haunted by the thought of his wife cheating on him and that paranoia is played on through suppositional flashes in which he imagines their exaggerated courtship to tremendous humorous effect.
The dialogue also needs to be cited for its excellence, while that should seem obvious it’s not always necessarily true. Take Dave, (Seann William Scott) the confrontational thief, he is constantly pestering Paul with games of shadow, knock-knock jokes and other nonsense but the film is somewhat conscious of this silliness and even plays up that for more comedy when they have an exchange of “Duck season!” “Rabbit season!”
Cop Out is an uproariously funny film that doesn’t throw plot completely out the window as has you engaged in all elements of the tale.