MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Let’s Be Cops’ Should Turn Itself In

Film: Let’s Be Cops
Starring: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr.
Directed by: Luke Greenfield

There is little more than meets the eye when it comes to Let’s Be Cops. Written and directed by Luke Greenfield, this half-assed attempt at grown-up make believe loses steam long before it reaches its final destination.

Ryan and Justin are two men who are afraid of embracing adulthood. Though their motivations for doing so slightly differ, each has made it to what appears to be nearly 30 without having to make a single major commitment or decision in their entire lives. Neither is very happy, unless of course they’re with the other, and on the night we first encounter the pair, they’re forced to face the harsh reality of their life choices when they show up to a party filled with former classmates wearing the wrong type of costume. People they’ve known for years laugh at the duo, which in turn makes their egos shrink to the size of peas, and before long they leave feeling as if they could not sink any lower in life.

Don’t fret just yet, dear reader, because just as it seems all hope is lost for our heroes, a stranger on the street mistakes the costumed men for actual police officers. Not long after, a few more people do the same. Then another. And another. After all this and an extended sequence where the pair try yelling “Freeze!” to see if it has any effect on the public they decide to do as the title suggests and become [fake] cops.

The best moments that follow Ryan and Justin’s decision to continue impersonating cops beyond that first night have already been spoiled by the trailers, which is something I think everyone should know before purchasing a movie ticket. If you go into the cinema expecting more hijinks involving guys who are not cops pretending to be officers of the law you will likely leave feeling incredibly underwhelmed as the vast majority of sequences yet to be spoiled by the film’s promotional campaign revolves around plot elements that are far from humorous. Unfortunately for the film, they’re also not that interesting.

When our heroes are not enjoying the benefits of their newfound power, they run across a group of bad guys who don’t take too kindly to members of the law getting in their way. This throws Ryan and Justin into the middle of a real police investigation involving gangsters that could result in very real consequences for the pair. It doesn’t, of course, but that is what the film wants you to believe.

Greenfield’s record in Hollywood is hit and miss at best, but he only manages to skirt complete disaster with Let’s Be Cops because of his talented cast. Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. make the best of a flimsy script, and they’re aided along the way by appearances from funny people from TV like Jon Lajoie and Rob Riggle. Andy Garcia also appears, but his dramatic talents are largely wasted.

I do have to give Let’s Be Cops credit for one of the most entertaining disclaimer sequences of all time. Everyone should know that impersonating law enforcement in any way is a serious crime, but in case that point alluded audience members there is a rather hilarious sequence in the center of the film that runs through the various penalties for those who decide to become fake cops. It’s the kind of high brow moment you hope will lift the entire film to a new level of humor, but things quickly descend into the kind of writing you’d expect from a hack police procedural.

Let’s Be Cops offers the sort of open-ended premise that usually leads to comedic gold, but its script is so predictable that you feel as if you’ve seen everything before it even happens. Worse, you are never given one good reason to care about the well-being of anyone on screen other than the fact their image is being projected in front of you. It’s surface level entertainment from beginning to end, and if 20th Century Fox hadn’t spoiled every major gag during the last six months of marketing, that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. There will be people who go into this movie blind and walk out having enjoyed themselves greatly. I don’t doubt that, and to be honest, a part of me envies them. Everyone else – aka anyone connected to the internet or cable TV – will be ready to stop playing pretend long before the third act even begins.


Review written by James Shotwell

James Shotwell
Latest posts by James Shotwell (see all)
Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.