‘Let’s Be Cops’ Review

19
Aug
2014

2014 hasn’t been a standout year for comedies so far. Movies like Sex Tape, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, The Other Woman, and Tammy have all fallen flat. The LEGO Movie was surprisingly good, Neighbors was another solid addition to Seth Rogen’s line of work, and I have heard mostly good things about 22 Jump Street and Chef. Overall though, it feels like a mostly weak year for comedies. That’s why I was so excited for Let’s Be Cops to come out. Not only did it look like a hysterical Rated-R comedy with a funny premise, but it starred two actors who already had built-in chemistry after working with each other for the past few years.

The film stars Damon Wayans Jr. (The Other Guys) and Jake Johnson (Safety Not Guaranteed) who are both on the funny sitcom New Girl. They play friends and roommates who live in Los Angeles and are having a “we’re 30 as s#!&” crisis with their lives. Wayans plays Justin, an assistant video game developer who feels like a glorified note taker. His boss (played by The League‘s Jon Lajoie) is an ass and no one has any interest in developing Justin’s game about being an everyday cop. Justin faces the problem of being non-confrontational and wanting to bail every time things get tough. Johnson plays Ryan, an ex-college football star who is now jobless and spends his days playing football with kids who are annoyed with him. He is clinging to his past fame which was cut short by an injury. He also starred in a herpes medicine commercial, something he doesn’t feel too ashamed about. He is not as frustrated with life as Justin, but he’s starting to realize his life is without purpose.

Right when they are both realizing their own shortcomings, they get mistaken for cops out in public. Instead of correcting people, they go along with it and get a huge rush of adrenaline. This is where the comedy really starts to pick up, as these two men are living a surprise fantasy of being above the law. Ryan is fully into it while Justin seems hesitant, but both men are definitely reaping the rewards. As I said before, the chemistry between the two leads is very strong and it’s where a majority of the comedy of the film comes from. We also get strong supporting comedic performances from Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele) and standup comedian Natasha Leggero (Chelsea Lately). I was little disappointed that there weren’t more laughs coming from Rob Riggle (Step Brothers), who is usually hysterical in everything he does, but was in a more subdued, straight forward role as a legitimate cop.

One of the biggest reasons I think this movie was a success is also one most people might not notice, and that it has a strong villain. I have personal hang-up with most buddy cop comedies mainly because the actual mission and criminals the main characters have to deal with are usually uninteresting and weak. However in Let’s Be Cops the villain is a strong one and adds a big part to the film. James D’Arcy (Cloud Atlas) plays Mossi, an eastern European mobster who enjoys hurting people physically more than actual criminal business. At a certain point during Justin and Ryan’s faux cop shenanigans they run into Mossi, who sends them a serious message that he is not to be messed with. This guy is a real prick. Not only does he go too far in every confrontation, but he is also harassing Justin’s love interest Josie (played by the stunning Nina Dobrev of Vampire Diaries fame). Mossi is not a generic bad guy who just gives the two main characters a reason to keep going, he is a total scumbag who will make you despise him and add fire to the main character’s goals.

Let’s Be Cops is funny, action-packed, engaging, and even a little inspirational. It’s not just about 2 guys in cop uniforms screwing around and trying not to get caught. It’s about 2 friends who are at a cross roads in their lives and need to not only change their situations, but also their attitudes towards change. It’s a very well done movie that can prove both Wayans and Johnson can hold their own as comedy leads. It has shaped up as one of if not THE best comedy of 2014.

  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4 stars
  • Excellent

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  • Last modified: August 21, 2014

Review Summary:

Pros

Funny, filled with action, great cast, great theme

Cons

The ending was a little too serious for the overall tone of the film