Director: Luke Greenfield
Starring: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr., Rob Riggle, James D’Arcy, Nina Dobrev, Keegan-Michael Key, Andy Garcia
Written by: Luke Greenfield and Nicholas Thomas
Running Time: 104 mins
Release date: 27th August 2014
Let’s Be Cops is one of those low-concept comedies about slackers who think they are invincible and can do whatever they please for their own entertainment. The sort of thing that Seth Rogan would star in. This one involves two 30-somethings who are old enough to know better, pretending to be police officers. Oh how we laughed. Actually we didn’t because apart from the odd snigger, Let’s Be Cops is pretty much a laugh-free comedy that thinks it’s an all-action thriller by the end.
Ryan and Justin are best friends who moved to L.A. to make it big but at the age of 30, they both realise that it’s not going to happen. Ryan, a failed football player, doesn’t do much except teach kids (badly) the game while Justin is a computer game designer with an idea that no one wants to hear about. One night, after being invited to a fancy dress party, the pair go as cops and immediately find they can impress the ladies and have ultimate power. Ryan soon starts taking things too seriously and the boys become involved in stopping an Eastern European gang.
Luke Greenfield’s film is nothing more than a series of witless sketches hinged together by the thinnest of plots. For the first 45 minutes, we go from scene to scene as Ryan and Justin find out just how much fun they can have pretending to police officers. we know when each scene is complete when we get a rap song or some mindless pap music to indicate the end, instead of a drum and cymbal that you would have at the end of an unfunny joke.
Admittedly it moves along at a brisk pace, mainly to stop you from noticing just how bad or non-existent the jokes are. It skips along with the odd homophobic gag, a racist one here and there, not forgetting a whole pile of misogynistic wise-cracks, where all the women in the film have large breasts and the tightest outfits available, as our two hapless heroes (?) steal pot from smoking kids, get into bars for free and generally goof around.
Then the film decides that enough with the childishness and it should become all mature and introduce a couple of bad guys who are picking on small local businesses (something to do with gun-running or money laundering but who can say, it’s never made too clear). In enters Andy Garcia (who use to have a pretty good career) playing all sinister with his grey goatee and the film’s overall tone switches from comedy (questionable) to thriller (even more questionable).
It’s a very flimsy affair as we watch the team work of Jake Johnson (who stars in The New Girl) and another member of the seemingly endless Wayans family, Marlon Jr. Johnson as Ryan is the immature one who wants to play cop and he does it with childish abandonment, which wouldn’t have been so bad if he was a child. Wayans does come off better with one scene in which he asks the European thugs to do a series of pole dancing routines, which does amuse but as a partnership, they are limited to shouting at each other, calling one another imbecile and slapping in a style that the Three Stooges would be embarrassed with.
Let’s Be Cops is undemanding in every sense of the word and from the reaction of the audience I saw it with, doesn’t raise higher than a smirk or a titter. With its unbelievable plot and silly antics, it fails to deliver anything like the laughs you got from 22 Jump Street, for example. Not a comedy masterpiece by a long shot.