Cop Out affects such a generic, mid-80s feel that you keep waiting for the wink.
You keep watching, expecting that, at any moment, director Kevin Smith is going to tip his hand - to spoof the genre, send it up, make fun of it. In other words, you keep waiting for him to have his characters wink at the camera as if to communicate the fact that this is all meant as a joke, not to be taken seriously.
And they do. But the joke's on them.
Make no mistake: Cop Out is not to be taken seriously. And not because Smith and his expensive band of jokers aren't taking it seriously themselves. Rather, this alleged action-comedy, flatter than a tortilla in a panini press, is just that awful.
The only funny scenes in the whole film are the ones in the commercial, where Seann William Scott (as a prisoner of police detectives played by Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan) is bedeviling Morgan - first, by making outrageously vulgar slanders about Morgan's wife, then by mimicking everything Morgan says. It's juvenile, to be sure, and it probably was only barely written. But those are the only moments in the movie where you're momentarily nudged out of your film-induced coma.
I'm a longstanding Kevin Smith fan, but can't quite give him a pass on this, the first film he directed but didn't write. The script's best moments obviously were punched up by him; too bad he didn't tear it down and start from scratch.
I'll also admit that I've never found Morgan particularly funny. With the exception of his work on 30 Rock, he makes me laugh only slightly more often than Dane Cook - which is never. So that's a big negative going in.
Still, it's the material that sinks this stinker. The overly elaborate but ultimately witless concept has to do with a pair of longtime cop partners, Jimmy (Willis) and Paul (Morgan). They're undercover in Brooklyn, but they mess up a sting on a drug dealer and wind up suspended without pay for a month.
Jimmy, however, is on the hook for a $50,000 wedding for his daughter - and doesn't want his ex-wife's rich new husband (Jason Lee in a lifeless cameo) to pay for it. So he agrees to sell a rare baseball card to get the dough to cover the cost.
But the memorabilia store where he's selling it is robbed just as he pulls the card out - and so he and Paul (who are, after all suspended) saddle up to find the thief, a doofus played by Scott. It turns out, however, that he's already offloaded the card to a Mexican drug lord (the always welcome Guillermo Diaz), who agrees to return the card if the cops can find his stolen Mercedes.
There's some silliness about offshore accounts and a woman hidden in the trunk of that Benz. Mostly it's filler, killing time but not getting laughs for the bulk of the running time.
Willis and Morgan are stranded in a script by writers Robb and Mark Cullen, who probably got more laughs cashing their check than they did with this screenplay.
Cop Out originally was titled A Couple of Dicks, which at least would have given you a smile going in. You won't be smiling coming out, and very little between the beginning and the end.
C'mon, Kevin - quit smoking weed and write a new movie of your own.