Director: Luke Greenfield
Starring: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr., Rob Riggle
Release Date: August 13, 2014
Buddy cop films are starting to reemerge as a Hollywood favorite with films such as The Heat, 21 Jump Street and Ride Along hitting the big screen over the past couple of years, with sequels either already being made or are in the process of being made for both 21 Jump Street and Ride Along. So it's no surprise that director Luke Greenfield decided to take a stab at it with Let's Be Cops. The two films mentioned earlier were lucky enough to attract A-list stars for each film as Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum were casted for their respected roles. Greenfield's film on the other hand, was not as fortunate with the A-listers but he managed to get a member of one of the most successful Hollywood families in the business, a Wayans. Damon Wayans Jr. is a regular on FOX's New Girl and is ready to bring his TV success to the big screen. Unfortunately, Let's Be Cops will have you filing a warrant search for more laughs.
When two best friends, Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Ryan (Jake Johnson) dress as police officers for a costume party, they become instantly famous in the neighborhood. However, these non-cops soon find themselves tangled in the real life world of crime, mobsters and dirty cops.
The biggest highlight of the film happens to be the chemistry between co-stars Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson, which is no surprise since the two both star in New Girl. The personality they bring to their characters is very enjoyable and dense. However, the whole direction Greenfield went with the impersonation of cops was very, very underused. Jake Johnson's Ryan was very ballsy in his decisions after "becoming a cop" such as buying a police vehicle on eBay, taking real police calls and upgrading his uniform to a sergeant's rank, but the film fails to use its imagination to the fullest. Then, adding a lot of coincidences to develop the film doesn't benefit the film either as Justin's new crush, Josie (Nina Dobrev), happens to be former lovers with mobster Mossi (James D'Arcy) and Justin and Ryan's favorite restaurant happens to be connected to the Mossi's drug hideout. Imagination was truly missed, causing a dragged out second act.
The film had a few chuckles when the duo was only taking their new "careers" semi-serious but as soon as Ryan loses controls and starts making some pretty risky decisions the laughs start picking up. It shines especially when the pair of fake cops get an informant, Pupa (Keegan-Michael Key). Pupa is by far the funniest character in the film. He is the only one who demands laughter whenever he is on the screen and the leads feed off his energy as well. Natasha Leggero plays Annie, a crazed sex-addict, and even though she's in only one scene, that scene is the craziest one in the movie.
The third act will surprise you as viewers are finally greeted with the action part of the film. Prior, Greenfield did a great job for the most part (minus the scene when Justin had a group of mobsters dance like fools) of balancing the right amount of comedy and action to develop our characters but Greenfield throws that combination out completely and focuses on just the action, which works for the film completely.
Overall, Let's Be Cops is not the best of what Wayans and Johnson have put out like in their show New Girl but their chemistry sure does out shine that. The pacing and lack of imagination kills a lot of the momentum causing the film to be the least enjoyable of the other buddy cop films that have been released this year like Ride Along and 22 Jump Street. I look forward to seeing the two team up again one day on the big screen, but you should see their first pairing on the big screen from the comfort of your home either On Demand or Netflix.
Labels: 2014, Damon Wayans Jr., Jake Johnson, Let's Be Cops, Luke Greenfield, Movie Review, On Demand, Rob Riggle