Every year we are treated to dime a dozen; moderately funny, Comedy films. Some these are well remembered because they can be particular in their content, tickling our fancy for whatever reason. However, most of them go unnoticed. Let’s Be Cops falls easily into that category. Written by Nicholas Thomas and director Luke Greenfield, Let’s Be Cops tries to lampoon the modern buddy cop film. Granted, a few satirical attempts work to an extent, the film is ultimately irrelevant and is reliant on small superficial laughs.
Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Ryan (Jake Johnson) are in their early thirties and, in Justin’s eyes, are complete failures. Originally having moved to Los Angeles to follow each other’s dreams, Justin has become a video game designer, struggling to get his project made, and Ryan lives off his past failures and his insignificant present successes (having only acted in an STD commercial). Justin’s game is a realistic depiction of police officers, a concept that is largely mutilated by his vain boss. The pair is invited to a college reunion. Thinking it is a dress-up party, the pair go as cops, utilizing Justin’s presentation aides. They find it is a masquerade party, however, and feel even more despondent about their lives. After the party, they find that they are given a new sort of respect by the public in these uniforms. Enjoying the power so much, Ryan suggests that the pair pretend to be cops. The idea makes the responsible Justin uncomfortable, but he submits after the respect the beautiful Josie (Nina Dobrev) affords him.
Some keen and hilarious observations and satire are made in the premise. Within the bounds of the film, the antics can be hilarious, however, they are roughly seven years late with the idea. Everything done in this film was done five times as better in Hot Fuzz (2007). Furthermore, Hot Fuzz was smart and more poignant than this film. Let’s Be Cops in no way tries to mimic Edgar Wright’s film. However, the send-up of American buddy cop films has already been done in a more integral way. Underlining how basic and oversimplified this film is are the characters themselves. For example, Wayans’ character debases himself because he is 30 and a video game designer, as if to say that it is a bad thing. Greenfield and Thomas seem to get lazy with the writing.
Wayans and Johnson are both well-established comedic actors, having worked on the successful New Girl. However, their TV prowess does not translate well to the cinema. They have potential, but not enough to effectively create a cohesive and lasting satire. Rob Riggle, a champion in character comedy, has a chance to shine. Andy Garcia makes a second unforgettable cameo appearance in a film this year. James D’Arcy tries his best to be a menacing criminal, without a lot of success. Finally, Nina Dobrev is expendable.
Let’s Be Cops will not be remembered. It was an excuse for these New Girl cast members to get together and try and have some fun on a different comedic premise. The good intentions considered, the film leaves no mark on 2014 and can get a little annoying at stages.
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