Friday, August 22, 2014

Theatrical Review: Let's Be Cops

Date: Friday August 22, 2014
Location: Pocono Movieplex
Time: 12:10 pm
Party: me, myself & I


Ryan O'Malley- Jake Johnson
Justin Miller- Damon Wayans Jr.
Josie- Nina Dobrev
Officer Segars- Rob Riggle
Mossi- James D'Arcy
Brolin- Andy Garcia
Pupa [dreadlocks guy]- Keegan-Michael Key

Running Time: 104 minutes (+3 trailers)



As a fan of "New Girl," the moment this movie was announced... I knew I had to see it. Then when the trailers debuted, that hadn't changed. I also figured out another thing: in all likelihood, I'd be going solo to see this. So many R-rated comedies come out, most of which aren't worth much, so unless they have word-of-mouth going their way or they star good people, it's a tough sell.

This being the second week this is out, I also figured it'd be a small crowd. I just didn't predict I'd have the whole theater to myself :P
Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. [I'll explain why later.]

On a side-note, I saw a couple adults and kids in front of the box office before I got my ticket, so I could only guess they were there to see "The Giver" or the new Ninja Turtles movie. The latter turned out to be true.


I gotta say... these guys know their audience. All three of the trailers were R-rated comedies. Two of which were sequels to moderate successes.

I saw "Horrible Bosses" on HBO, wasn't a huge fan, but it had moments. Just not really enough to warrant this sequel. In one scene, it got me thinking they were trying to promote it as the next "Hangover" movie... probably not the best idea, considering how the sequels didn't get as much love as the original. At least they're not taking themselves too seriously.

"Hot Tub Time Machine," I'd heard was actually good, but I didn't expect it to be good enough to get picked up for a sequel. This time, they wind up going to the future. Something really idiotic, though, when Craig Robinson's character went back in time previously, he took it upon himself to take credit for writing certain songs. "Let's Get Started" was one thing, speaking as a not-so-big Black-Eyed Peas fan. But Lisa Loeb's "Stay"... that I cannot abide.

Then we have probably the most controversial movie of the year... so controversial they recently pushed back the release date to December. Clearly this trailer for "The Interview" was done before this announcement. Yep, it is so idiotic and insane, if North Korea declares war on us over it, God help us.

The Main Attraction

I first heard about this movie's existence a year ago around this time. I don't know if that was when Nick Miller was my new TV crush or I was so busy shipping Nick & Jess that I was dreaming about it... no matter what the story is, Jake Johnson was enough incentive for me to go.

Let's get one thing straight:
This isn't the world's best movie by any means. So anyone throwing shade in its general direction, they need to lighten up because they knew what they were getting coming into it.

Aside from being unrealistic, my only other negative was a lull in the 3rd act where I was wondering when this thing would be over. Almost like waiting through a comic's story waiting for a punch line.
To their credit, though, they did have a damn good punch line. No way would it work out so well in real life, but really, who cares.


These two 30-year old guys, Ryan and Justin, are getting nowhere in life.

Ryan was the quarterback at Purdue with a lot of NFL promise until he had a "career ending injury." Now, all he does with himself is play little-league football with a bunch of neighborhood kids... might I add they don't even want him there to begin with. Only one kid, Joey, seems to like him.

Justin works for a company that makes video-games. When we first see him in his element... let's be honest, he really isn't. We see him at a boardroom trying to pitch his game and this other jerk takes over the entire thing. Ultimately, Justin is shut out, and the new idea winds up being firefighters versus zombies because they're "original."

The cop uniforms were originally part of Justin's pitch for "Patrollman L.A.," and they decide to wear them to a Purdue alum costume party. Only, Ryan misconstrues that masquerade and costume parties are synonyms and they stick out like sore thumbs. On their way back, they come to the realization that people respect the uniform and Ryan says... wait for it...

"Let's Be Cops!"

For the first part of the movie, you get a lot of idiocy. The guys use the uniforms to get away with things and goof around. [Some of this footage comes during the credits for some last minute laughs]. Ryan actually takes it upon himself to get police training from YouTube videos and customize an old cop car he bought on eBay.
We also get some shenanigans where they try to settle a domestic disturbance and wind up going with a couple of actual cops to a robbery at Ace hardware.
All goes well for a while until they mess with the wrong people.

Before this "transformation," the guys first encounter our villains at a valet space. Their car stalls and, impatient, the villains' Mercedes SUV goes around them and basically does a hit-and-run.
The next time, they find them while in uniform and BS their way through the situation until they convince the bad guys to leave the scene. They were threatening a small restaurant owner to sell to them and is the same place where Justin's crush Josie works.

While maintaining this façade, the guys decide to help Officer Segars take down this notorious gangster Mossi, whom the department has chased for years but unable to pin because the evidence always disappears before they can make the arrest.

Not only does this become dangerous, but it gets complicated really quickly when they find out who the real head of the operation is.
All I will say: he's played by Andy Garcia in a really great role and you do not want to mess with him.

To their credit, however silly and unbelievable the movie gets at times, how everything resolves in the end... it worked out really well and for Ryan and Justin, the light at the end of the tunnel of their lives is very bright.

Acting and Comedy

It was a good thing I was alone in the theater because I could not get myself to shut up. There were lots of laughs to be had for sure with one real Laugh Out Loud moment that temporarily escapes me but it's towards the end of the movie. There are a few points where the gags run a little long... but things pick up quickly afterwards. I was also making remarks periodically about how stupid it is, this will never work, etc, etc. A real good time :P

I'd recommend this movie, but only to a few select groups of people.

Like I said, people who don't expect to come into something hits-you-over-the-head amazing.

Also for people who like R-rated comedies.

Most of the R-rating is cursing, but we have some sexual references and one instance of nudity. After being blindsided by "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," I made sure to research what I was coming into. In this case, the male nudity occurred at Ace hardware. For whatever reason, one of the perps is this sumo wrestling dude that had no clothes on... [exasperated sigh] I don't know why. I guess they just wanted this moment where he falls on top of Justin and he desperately wanted to get away from his... yeah, the guy was overweight so we didn't really see anything offensive until this point.
Speaking of offensive, Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" came on during this scene. I haven't been the biggest Miley Cyrus fan since last year's VMA's, but I like that song. Probably one of the worst uses of a song in the context of a movie I'd ever witnessed.

Oh well... at least "I want it that way" by the Backstreet Boys was used in good taste 8-) I know it was meant as a joke, but I appreciated its incorporation.

Most importantly, I would absolutely recommend this movie to "New Girl" fans. Heck, other than the R-rated comedy route, that's probably its key demographic.
Going into the series, I thought for sure Schmidt would get all the fangirls because he was more outgoing and funny and Nick was just a wet blanket. I don't know, I guess when Nick started to lighten up and have some genuinely good moments, I was crushin'.

Damon Wayans Jr. was in the show's pilot and disappeared after he chose the now-cancelled ABC comedy "Happy Endings" instead. Only recently did he return to the show as a reoccurring character and this upcoming season, he's back to being a regular.
At first, I thought Coach made the main cast feel overcrowded, that he didn't really add anything to the plot... but I'm starting to come around a bit.

If you take the different backstories and names out of the equation, you would think this was just Nick and Coach in another life. At least that's the case at first. Nick and Ryan have in common that they're both slackers, not doing much with themselves. Where they vary: Ryan is more optimistic than Nick ever was. Either way, I just find Jake Johnson a very engaging person on screen so watching this felt like home.
Coach is more eager, sometimes a little too intense with his take-no-prisoners attitude. Justin is the pessimist and realistic to Ryan's optimist, which makes for great comic relief and tons of great chemistry.

Again, Andy Garcia is a great intimidating bad guy. His screentime is short compared to some of the other characters and I don't want to give away too much about his character, but he does give this movie some credibility.

Nina Dobrev plays Josie, an aspiring make-up artist who waits tables to get by. I watched the first few seasons of "Vampire Diaries" (left just after they introduced werewolves and got WAY too complicated) and it was nice to see another familiar face. It could be argued that none of the characters in this movie are deep, but at least with the two leads I have something to add. With Josie, I don't really have much to add. She takes more interest in Justin when she believes he's a cop including one scene where she's dying to have sex with him. On the plus side, they didn't go all cliché and make her a kidnap victim.

Rob Riggle is a comedian I'd seen countless times in a number of movies. For whatever reason, I can't remember ANY of them, but that's all right. He's not someone you can take seriously, but he proves to be a good character and a valuable asset to this movie... if only to keep our leads from getting killed.

One scene-stealer worthy of note:
While trying to get enough evidence for an arrest, Ryan and Justin kidnap the driver of the van transporting the goods and torture him for answers.
They wind up hitting it off and come up with the idea to disguise Justin as him so he can sneak into a party to gather evidence. He was pretty funny and even returns in the final scene.

Final Thoughts

Yeah, this movie probably won't do well enough in the box office to get a sequel. Rotten Tomatoes was particularly harsh.
I can certainly see where a sequel could be made, with the dreadlocks dude making our dynamic duo a trio. But knowing how this industry works, it might not be the best idea. Who's to say that we'll get the same cast for a sequel or that the script won't get lazy.

I might not get this on DVD, but if it makes HBO, I can see myself watching it a couple more times if only to chill out and have a good time.

Grade: B+ (for "New Girl" fans), B (everyone else)

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