Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Week of Kevin Smith, Part Two - "Cop Out"


Well, we knew this one couldn't be very high on the list. And of all of his films, one could argue this is the worst in terms of content.

Some of that was beyond the powers of the director. Some of it not. But if the film doesn't make you laugh, then you might be a film snob. Which, to be fair, I often am. I have disliked the past I don't know how many big Hollywood theatrical releases, though not always because of their formula. Mostly, but not always.

So, by all accounts, I should be instantly dismissive of Cop Out. But I'm not, and here's why.

Tracy Morgan and the directorial sentiments of Kevin Smith. Oh, and Dave Klein. So, let's bullet list the heck out of those names and see the results, shall we?

- Tracy Morgan: I'm generally not a fan. I think I would like him in person, as in if I had a conversation with him. But I dug him in this movie. He plays off a person like Bruce Willis quite well, and when given the right dose of material, Tracy can take what was almost a crappy project and inject some life into it. I thought he was engaging for most of the film, and I liked his sub plot about being convinced his wife was having an affair. His imagined scenario where his wife and neighbor are taking out the trash nearly killed me I laughed so hard. As well, a certain "true friend" moment that happens at the end with a gun and Jason Lee was pretty much the coolest thing ever, and you had to fall in love with the character at that point.

- Kevin Smith: It does feel like a Kevin Smith movie. Like they took a normal Kevin Smith movie, bred it with Running Scared, and out came this film. My compatriot Nick is a fan of Running Scared, and he rates it above this one. I'm the reverse here. Running Scared bored me, and had far fewer moments. And while the comparison is obvious, and the Running Scared cast is better, I like Cop Out a whole lot more. It sticks to its guns as a story a lot better than Running Scared did, where they disappear from the story to go on vacation for Act 2. What the hell? Kevin Smith doesn't pull any weird stunts like that and does his best to focus on Bruce Willis' old cop, trying-his-hardest-father routine. It wasn't Kevin Smith's fault that Bruce Willis was... Well, we'll get to that.

- Dave Klein: I won't go into his work on Red State, obviously preferring to talk about that in that review, but I thought the cinematography in this movie was pretty darn good. Yeah, it was pretty standard, but I think so many movies take certain things for granted with the way they are shot, and this serves as a detriment to the intended comedy of the movie. Not so here, where the camera does what it needs to do at all the right times. Kevin Smith gets a lot of crap for the way his movies are shot, which is kind of unfair. If you point it out about Smith, than you're a hypocrite if you're not going to call out Apatow. Regardless, I don't think the usual complaints about photography apply in this movie.

Of course, those three things aren't all I like about the movie. It's a movie filled with a lot of small moments, charming little bits that make you remember this is a Smith film. It's not a great film. It's probably not even a good film, which will be reflected in the rating I give below, but I do enjoy it.

However, I should talk about the bad.

- The Story: Well, this isn't going out on a limb, but the story is pretty blah. Bruce Willis has a baseball card he is going to sell to pay for his daughter's wedding. It gets stolen, and he and Tracy Morgan are on the case. Mind you, this is after they've been suspended without pay. The script isn't even trying it seems like. Probably an unfair thing to say. But I reckon they weren't trying for profound here. Just entertaining.

- Bruce Willis: Here's the big one. And you know, I'm going to not take into account Kevin Smith's stories on the subject of Bruce in the film. I'm going to tell you my first impression of Bruce's performance when I saw this in cinemas. Willis came off as coasting. Gone were the charming days of John McClane. Of David Addison. Hell, even Hudson Hawk, though I rather hate that movie. No, here in this movie, Bruce Willis seems like a wheezy old man looking for his lost paycheck, just as Bruce's character is looking for a lost baseball card. And having seen the last several Bruce Willis movies, he's like this in every film now. Why is he doing this? He couldn't possibly really need the money. Though, I guess he could want it, which is fair. But it doesn't seem like he really enjoys doing this anymore, so it perplexes me as to why he's there. Plus, it's bringing down otherwise good movies (*coughLoopercough*) when other casting would have been fine. I mean, I get why you cast the man. Unlike Sly Stallone and one Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose days as box office draws have passed, the man can still bring in the crowds. It's crazy NOT to cast him. But dammit, he just sucks now. And he sucked in this movie. Bad.

There you have it. Cop Out. A movie that was once called "A Couple of Dicks" which was an infinitely better title, but the nanny statists of course objected, this movie really feels like the kind of movie that would be called "A Couple of Dicks." Or Cop Out for that matter. But you know what? You should sort of expect a movie like that to have this sort of content. People were waiting to hate on this film, and while I might get accused of being a Kevin Smith fanboy for liking the movie, I will in turn accuse so many out there (but not all, as people are allowed to dislike a movie) of being little hipster shitheads who like to hate on everything for just bandwagon bagging this film. It's not great. Not really good. But pretty fun.



2/5

Brit W.

PS - Sean William Scott is great in this film. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

10. Jersey Girl
9. Cop Out
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