I think the best way to explain this movie to you is with this sentence: There is full-blown teabagging in this movie. And such begins my review of the buddy “cop” movie, “Let’s Be Cops,” hitting theaters August 13.
“Let’s Be Cops” is the story of two friends, depressed they have not reached their goals by their 30’s. They decide to pretend to be cops in their free time after discovering that when they are in a pair of cop costumes, they are treated with carrying levels of respect and awe. Women throw themselves at them, skateboard punks stop for them, and even gangster scum kow-tow to them. Ryan (Jake Johnson,) proceeds to dive further into their roles, going so far as to watch instructional videos on YouTube and buy a car which he then converts into a police vehicle.
Eventually, Justin (Damon Wayans, Jr.) begins to fear their game has gone too far, and for good reason: they have gotten on the radar of a nefarious group of East-European mafia-types who don’t like that these two are getting in the way of their business.
To say that this movie is meant to be a source of unapologetic brain candy goes without saying. With its ridiculous plot and equally ridiculous performances, (standouts being Natasha Leggero’s impaired character, Annie, and Keegan Michael Key as “Pupa,) the movie presents laughs. Is it the best silly buddy comedy out there? No, but with names like Key, Rob Riggle, and of course the leads being covered by two stars of the hit sitcom New Girl, it at least is a relatively painless hour and half.
James D’Arcy shines as Mossi, the sociopathic leader of the crime ring looking to take out Johnson and Wayans. His character delivers a strange and satisfying mix of mystery and fear, making him magnetic on-screen. There the magnetism seems to end. Not only is this movie driven by a concept that is a federal offense, on several different levels, (Wayans’ character goes so far as to spell it out for us, researching exactly how many years in prison they would serve for their charade) but in the end their infraction becomes inconsequential. Not only do they avoid incarceration, but one character goes on to be the top of his field in video game design, while another GOES ON TO BECOME A COP HIMSELF. Yes, he had SO much fun pretending to be a cop, that he decides to actually become one and no one in the movie stops him. Inspiring.
Look, I’m not one to get on a soapbox often, nor am I the one to really get militant about my beliefs. But something about the fact that this entire movie is propagated on committing a federal crime and then not only getting away with it, but benefiting from it, really rubs me the wrong way. I enjoy many a dumb comedy, enough to the point that I spend most of my days being able to quote them ad nauseum. But where this movie differs is simple: “Let’s Be Cops” shoots for, but slightly misses, the audience’s heart.
If you really, I mean truly cared for these characters I might be able to let the fact that they glamorize a heinous crime lightly. If there was even one scene where I empathized with the characters, I may be able to turn a little more of my cheek. And it is not for a lack of trying, or me being able to commiserate with them. I am the same age as these characters, as well as had the, “What the hell am I doing with my life?” moment more than once. Everyone has had that moment of doubt, that moment when they decide to push forward or move to Plan B. But when this movie attempts to reach out to the audience and really get you on their side, it falls slightly short of the mark.
All in all, Let’s Be Cops an easy 90 minutes of your time,and a good brain break. E ven then, I would wait until VOD.