Some disasters are created out of misguided enthusiasm for bad ideas. Some are created when the realization of said bad ideas comes far too late and the project must be seen through to the end. For his ninth feature film, Cop Out, Kevin Smith has delivered a near-disaster that reeks of both. If at any point Smith or his cast smelt a turkey on their hands, they didn’t care and proceeded to laugh their way through. Too bad those laughs aren’t infectious. Bruce Willis—with whom Smith appeared in Live Free or Die Hard—stars as New York cop Jimmy. Apparently he and his partner Paul (Morgan) have been together for nine years, though their complete lack of chemistry (or knowledge, or experience) upsets that idea. Their shtick, as they bumble in and out of dangerous situations, is that Paul is perpetually annoying and Jimmy looks perpetually annoyed.
After a stool pigeon is shot and they let the killer get away, Jimmy and Paul are suspended without pay. Looking to finance his daughter’s wedding, Jimmy decides to sell his rare, mint-condition Andy Pafko baseball card. Unfortunately, the card is stolen, and the thief (an irritating Seann William Scott) sells it to a drug dealer who happens to be related to the aforementioned killer. The one-dimensional Latino drug lord (Guillermo Diaz) offers to trade the card back if the cops will help find his stolen car (the contents of which provide even more plot “twists”). A horrible Harold Faltermeyer-style score (by Faltermeyer himself) thumps and pings at us throughout, recalling the most awful aspects of the Beverly Hills Cop sequels.
Smith fails to combine comedy and action, and neither the comedy nor the action is any great shakes by itself; it’s draggy and thin. Kevin Pollak, Adam Brody and Jason Lee turn up as more half-baked characters, and Paul is given an especially painful subplot in which he constantly frets about the fidelity of his pretty wife (Rashida Jones). The real entertainment here will be looking forward to what the usually candid Smith has to say about this turkey after it has mercifully left multiplexes.