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Let’s Be Cops Review

Let's Be Cops

Director: Luke Greenfield.

Cast: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr., Rob Riggle, Andy Garcia, Nina Dobrev, James D’Arcy, Keegan-Michael Key.

Certificate: 15

Running Time: 104 minutes.

Synopsis: Two friends attend a costume party as cops and quickly realise they can pass for the real thing. After a few pranks they soon become involved in a serious and dangerous case.

LET’S BE COPS is a one joke movie, luckily it happens to be a very funny joke. With Johnson and Wayans Jr. coming fresh from a few successful years on hit TV show New Girl (granted Wayans Jr. has been more of a guest star), it’s time for these two funnymen to break into the big and beautiful world of movies. Although LET’S BE COPS is far from perfect, it’s a simplistic film that allows the two stars to demonstrate what they are capable of.

Two people impersonating cops lends itself to a wealth of comedic sketches, which pretty much comprises the first act of this movie. It gets into the idea straight away and presents us with a series of episodes that would probably be more at home on a YouTube prank channel. Despite the fact we’re in a narrative film, Johnson and Wayans Jr. make it work thanks to their fantastic chemistry. You can feel the friendship and frustration between these two and their cheeky grins and bizarrely placed confidence results in infectious laughter for the majority of the first two acts.

The problem with starting the film so suddenly is that it reaches critical mass sooner than predicted and the shenanigans also go on for longer than necessary. There are so many times when Hustin (Wayans Jr.) says he won’t go along with Ryan’s (Johnson) plans any more that his repetition becomes boring. By the time we’ve entered the main plot, which of course sees the fake cops going up against a real threat, the film finds it hard to gain any traction in propelling things forward.

Very surprising is that the final act is a very intense action filled affair. You do feel as though characters are in danger, but Greenfield doesn’t seem to merge the comedy and action together, meaning we are jolted out of comedy mode into nailbiting territory. Despite a career in comedy, perhaps Greenfield is an action director waiting to break out. Speaking of breakouts, Rob Riggle comes through as a genuine star in this film. He plays it straight and isn’t lumbered with being a smarmy and obnoxious jerk. Riggle has played comedic cops before in the likes of THE OTHER GUYS and THE HANGOVER, but here he feels genuine and actually has some good material to work with.

The credits show scenes obviously deleted from the final film, heavily suggesting that the crew just wrote a list of situation that would be funny if cops did them. For the most part they are completely right. But as this is a feature length film, there are also relationships and character building, which too often feels like a forced break from another series of jokes. Nina Dobrev may not be given much comedy to work with, but at least her character is allowed to get involved and doesn’t just end up a damsel in distress. Garcia, although not given much, is allowed to be menacing but like the climax, you almost forget it’s a comedy when he’s around.

Uneven in tone and too reliant on its one joke premise, LET’S BE COPS is still very enjoyable. Hopefully it won’t spawn a ton of sequels such as LET’S BE FIREMEN, LET’S BE LAWYERS or LET’S BE SURGEONS, but if it does then they’ll need a bit more material to go around. Laughs a plenty, but wears thin after the 60 minute mark.

[usr=3] LET’S BE COPS is in cinemas from 27th August

Luke likes many things, films and penguins being among them. He's loved films since the age of 9, when STARGATE and BATMAN FOREVER changed the landscape of modern cinema as we know it. His love of film extends to all aspects of his life, with trips abroad being planned around film locations and only buying products featured in Will Smith movies. His favourite films include SEVEN SAMURAI, PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, IN BRUGES, LONE STAR, GODZILLA, and a thousand others.

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