By Rex Reed
With so much junk littering the screen these days, the movie business looks like a garbage strike, and it’s beginning to smell, too. The latest pollution from the celluloid dumpster is a sub-mental horror called Cop Out, with Bruce Willis and a screeching, eye-rolling, potty-mouthed comic named Tracy Morgan as the newest team in a seemingly endless stream of mismatched NYPD cop-buddy flicks, on the trail of a stolen baseball card. You can’t make this stuff up. This pair of imbeciles—and the movie they’re in—are about as funny as the contents of a toilet bowl.
The hack responsible for this miserable dreck is writer-director Kevin Smith, whose writing is so filthy it cannot be quoted in the company of anyone who cares about their IQ status, and whose zero talent as a director of such cinematic brain lesions as Clerks, Mallrats, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Zack and Miri Make a Porno has made significant contributions to the dumbing down of America in general and American movies in particular. It gets even dumber with Cop Out. There isn’t much to say about a movie this stupid, or a duo of aging stoners in uniform who patrol Brooklyn and Queens calling themselves White Lightning and Black Thunder, and spend most of their time on suspension without pay for obvious reasons. The white nitwit shoots, stabs, maims and wipes out a Mexican drug cartel that stole the priceless 1952 Pafko baseball card he needs to pay for his daughter’s wedding in order to prevent his ex-wife’s new husband from getting all the credit. Instead of protecting the citizens he’s paid to help, the black nitwit spends his time on duty beating up a teddy bear, spying on his wife with binoculars to see if she’s sleeping with the neighbors, and screaming a relentless spew of fetid obscenity in a shameless imitation of Stepin’ Fetchit, dressed like a cell phone.
Instead of a plot, the long and paralyzing vignettes the movie tosses into a Cuisinart of violence for padding feature a 10-year-old car thief, a Mexican Lupe Velez look-alike who holds the key to millions of dollars in off-shore bank accounts, a numbing parade of car chases, a mass murderer who collects memorabilia called Po Boy and a masked home intruder who takes time out in the middle of robbing his victims to turn their living rooms into bathrooms.
Kevin Smith has been quoted saying his goal in Cop Out was to emulate Abbott and Costello, but either times have changed more than I feared, or he’s never seen one. The Willis-Morgan team is about as on point as four legs with the ankles missing. The sequel will undoubtedly star Adam Sandler and Chris Tucker.
In the sleep-inducing comic tradition of the Farrelly Brothers, Judd Apatow, David O. Russell and Wes Anderson, this is the kind of critically bilious emetic I would ordinarily pass by, looking the other way. But at the screening for alleged critics one lady reviewer old enough to know better went into high-pitched squeals of shrieking hysterics every time the cops described in detail their excrement, flatulence and penis size. I don’t even want to think about what this says about the state of movie criticism today, but it’s pretty clear that we will always have moron movies as long as we have moron critics who praise them. Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of either.
It could be worse. Cop Out was originally called A Couple of Dicks, so be grateful for small favors. An even bigger favor would have been burning the negative before it left the lab.