Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Damon Wayans Jr., as Justin, and Jake Johnson, as Ryan, try to interrogate a suspect, played by Keegan-Michael Key, as fake cops in the fumbling buddy comedy “Let’s Be Cops.” Image courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

August 14, 2014
Think reviewing movies is all fun? Try watching ‘Let’s be Cops’

When people ask what I do for a living and I tell them part of my job is to review movies, they usually say I have the best job in the world.

That’s because they don’t have to sit through movies like “Let’s Be Cops.”

Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) are 30-year-old roommates whose dreams haven’t just materialized. When Justin’s pitch for a hyper-realistic cop video game is shot down — no pun intended — the guys have really hit rock bottom.

Through a short but boring series of events, they end up dressed like cops for a costume party, but discover the uniform has, shall we say, other benefits. You know how chicks dig a man in uniform. On their weeks-long joyride abusing the uniform and the badge in virtually every way possible, they unwittingly stumble onto a real crime organization led by the vicious Mossi (James D’Arcy).

I honestly don’t like being really negative about shows, but I am struggling to come up with much good to say about this one.

Bromance. The bromance was strong with this one. Johnson and Wayans have awesome buddy chemistry that carries straight over from their day jobs in the Fox comedy “New Girl.”

But that kind of makes it especially painful to see them in this mess. There were a few chuckles, but overall the grimaces outnumbered the giggles two to one. For example, while both nudity and sexual desperation have been used in other comedies as successful gags, a naked fat man and a horny junkie just didn’t do it for me.

I’ll admit that some of the cringes weren’t from failed jokes. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m a crime reporter and tend to think more about cop stuff, like legality and due process than most, but I just had a hard time getting totally on board with the plot.

These guys are idiots. The whole thing is about how they essentially go about committing what amounts to federal violation after federal violation. Some things are kind of understandable, like driving fast with the siren on, or getting into a swanky club. Other things, though, are a little ridiculous, like taking a guy’s joint or chasing kids around with the cop car.

It just was too much. I just couldn’t take it all.

I think it could have been better with some tweaks. First off, have less of the junkie, or maybe get rid of her altogether. Second, cut some of the juvenile antics and get to the criminal organization faster (and maybe give the villain a personality besides all-around scuzzball). Third, give some of the supporting characters a little more screentime, like Officer Segar the Actual Cop (Ron Riggle), Pupa the Gangster (Keegan-Michael Key) or Josie the Vapid Love Interest (Nina Dobrev).

Although I said this was the worst movie I’ve ever seen — and I honestly would have walked out if I didn’t have to review it — I have to take it back. This was not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Now that I’ve had a little time to mull it over, it seems a little less terrible and a little more funny. Last year’s unspeakably awful “We’re The Millers” was still way, way worse. And while much of it is kind of insulting to the badge, the end almost serves as an apology, of sorts, to law enforcement in general.

That being said, it still wasn’t good. Given the choice between watching “Let’s Be Cops” or “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” again, I’d go with the turtles every time, Megan Fox and all. Or maybe I’d just swear off movies altogether. 

Lisa Christensen

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Lisa covers primarily crime and courts, military affairs, Stansbury Park government and transportation issues. She is a graduate of Utah State University, where she double-majored in journalism and music, and Grantsville High School.

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