Have you ever wanted to be a police officer? The occupation has certainly been made to look at least a little glamorous after decades of crime procedural dramas on nighttime network television. Having ultimate authority, feeling the thrill of chasing and then apprehending a perp — these are a couple of the attractive qualities that give some the reason to fantasize.
This is the basic premise of “Let’s Be Cops,” the latest R-rated “raunchy” comedy to hit theaters. Given its premise, one might expect a modicum of the outrageousness almost required of any raunchy comedy, but it fails to do anything outrageous or even remotely entertaining.
Most R-rated comedies nowadays are raunchy comedies, trading humorous wit for the opportunity to go for the jugular. Others that have come out this summer include “Neighbors,” “Sex Tape” and “22 Jump Street” — although, perhaps it’s unfair to include the latter as it is quite clever in its own self-reflexivity. In terms of comedies, these films have oversaturated the market, and as a result, most that are released into theaters showcase lazy, uninspired gags that become the film’s only selling point. “Let’s Be Cops” is no different than most other raunchy comedies ravenously consumed by the masses. It takes the talents of Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr., co-stars on Fox’s hit sitcom “New Girl,” and unbelievably squanders them, considering their chemistry together on the T.V. show.
Speaking of the film’s two leads, let’s not forget how derivative and unlikeable they are. Jake Johnson’s characterRyan O’Malley isalmost the same loveable loser he plays on “New Girl.” In “Let’s Be Cops,” however, there is nothing loveable about his character.. He can’t let go of his past, when he was the big man on campus as a starting quarterback expected to go pro, until mistakes took those dreams away. Damon Wayans, Jr., as Justin Miller, is the yang to O’Malley’s yin. As a meek video game designer, he plays a stark contrast to his “New Girl” persona. We should gravitate towards him because he appears to be the voice of reason among the duo, but he too often gives in to Ryan’s influences and lets the lies he tells grow out of control. If these characters sound familiar, you’re not alone.
In fact, inspired laughs or characters just are not among this movie’s strong suits — if it has any to speak of. Nina Dobrev, who plays waitress and hopeful make-up artist Josie, is impossible to invest in as her character’s only purpose is as Wayans’s love interest. Would you like to guess how they turn out fdespite all the lies told her? Rob Riggle, as Officer Spears, essentially plays himself, rehashing the same personality he uses for all of his movies. James D’Arcy is merely a throwaway bad guy, and the presence of Keegan-Michael Key and Andy Garcia is equally wasted.
In addition to pacing problems in the film’s second act and a confusing tonal shift for a majority of the final act, “Let’s Be Cops” will be largely written off as another forgettable comedy that’s barely outrageous enough to make the cut. It should not take a movie to tell people that a police officer’s job is not as glamorous as it may seem from the outside. All you have to do is turn on your local news. As forgettable as this movie is, there was one thing about its advertising that I found offensive, at least to my sensibilities as a movie nerd who tries his best to appreciate the art of film. In a Facebook advertisement for the film, it called thinking while watching a film “overrated” and told viewers to just be entertained. As if thinking and being entertained can’t coexist.
Rating: 1 star out of 4