COP OUT (15) ** DIRECTED BY: KEVIN SMITH STARRING: BRUCE WILLIS, TRACY MORGAN, SEANN WILLIAM SCOTT
INITIALLY called A Couple of Dicks, Cop Out's thunder-stealing new title serves as its own review by setting itself up to mercilessly mock the conventions of the buddy-cop genre then lazily paying dull "homage" to 1980s predecessors such as Lethal Weapon and Beverly Hills Cop instead.
The wilfully silly premise finds Bruce Willis and 30 Rock's Tracy Morgan cast as long-serving but mismatched partners who run afoul of a Mexican drug-smuggling syndicate while trying to track down a rare baseball card stolen from Willis's washed-up detective (he needs it back so he can sell it and pay for his daughter's dream wedding).
Working for the first time as a director for hire, Kevin Smith (Clerks) drains any interest from of the premise with lots of boring, slackly paced action, while the script's self-referential jokes are butchered by having just about every punchline or reference explained, sometimes a couple of times.
The whole enterprise plays out like a bad, dumbed-down US version of Hot Fuzz, or Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, minus Robert Downey Jr and the meticulously structured verbal riffs.
Doubtless everybody on set had a blast making this. Shame none of that energy translates to the screen.