Let's Be Cops
Fitfully entertaining cop comedy featuring New Girl's Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr
The buddy cop comedy gets an interesting spin in Let’s Be Cops, a hit-and-miss affair that amuses and frustrates in equal measure. Co-written and directed by Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door), the film follows two loser flat-mates – Jake Johnson’s ex-footballing prospect Ryan and Damon Wayans Jr’s timid but hopeful games designer Justin – as they decide to pretend to be LAPD cops after one particularly wild night of fancy dress partying.
Their ensuing misadventures initially start as a means to further their drunken wish fulfilment but turn serious once they fall foul of a psychopathic criminal, Mossi (James D'Arcy), with high connections.
Greenfield’s film has some good ideas and continually thrives on the easy-going chemistry that exists between Johnson and Wayans Jr (both of TV’s New Girl fame) but it’s also let down by bad decisions. Some of the comedy is lazy and crass, going for the obvious and low-brow rather than the sophisticated or knowing, and thereby trailing in the wake of 22 Jump Street. The darker, more violent elements sometimes sit uncomfortably alongside the lighter material, especially when Greenfield attempts to combine them in one scene.
Indeed, most of the film’s failings stem from misjudged directorial choices and even extend to the editing, with moments of poor continuity during verbal exchanges proving distracting. A generous running time also creates a bloated middle section. It’s largely down to Johnson and Wayans Jr that the film still manages to entertain as much as it does, along with a couple of genuinely funny sight gags and quips. The conclusion also manages to find a better balance between being gritty and zany.
Let’s Be Cops is an amiable watch that succeeds in spite of its many flaws, but you can’t help but wonder what someone like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang's Shane Black or Superbad's Greg Mottola might have done had they got hold of it.
General release from Wed 27 Aug.