'Let's Be Cops' review: Not unwatchable, just very disappointing
The best parts of this flat buddy cop flick are in the movie trailer.
In short: Two struggling friends (Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr.) begin dressing up as police officers to impress girls and feel better about their own lives. (watch the trailer)
Try as they might, not even the intrinsic combined charm of Johnson and Wayans Jr. can save this alleged 'comedy' that brings absolutely nothing new to the table. There are single scenes of "Lethal Weapon" or "22 Jump Street" that are more enjoyable than the totality of this bland attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the "New Girl" co-stars.
Almost nothing in this film works quite right. The chuckles-to-laughs ratio is sadly unbalanced more toward the former. The dramatic tension between the friends - who are disappointed the way their lives have turned out - is forced and fails to give this anemic story any weight or significance. And for a film that spends the first two acts being silly in its take on police activity, "Let's Be Cops" becomes oddly sanctimonious in the third act, capped by a preachy monologue stressing how unfunny and serious gun violence and crime actually are in the real world.
The real crime of "Let's Be Cops" is how tragically misused its cast of otherwise talented supporting actors.
The usually hilarious Rob Riggle is completely wasted as a real police officer who adds nothing of comedic value - he's just a plot device that pops up whenever convenient. "Vampire Diaries" star Nina Dobrev is little more than a pretty damsel in distress who bats her eyelashes. Oscar-nominee Andy Garcia seems to be acting in a whole other movie altogether. Keegan-Michael Key's 'funny' character is little more than a wig, a crazy accent and some weird tattoos. Natasha Leggero's character is so pointless she isn't worth mentioning.
The silver lining to this disappointing comedy: Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. show that they can support a feature-length film: their chemistry and comedic talents are undeniable. But "Let's Be Cops" is simply not going to be the movie that vaults them to the level of comedy superstars.
Final verdict: "Let's Be Cops" is not nearly the fun ride it claims to be - mired by lame jokes and a sputtering plot.
"Let's Be Cops" opens in theaters nationwide Weds, Aug. 13 and is rated R for language including sexual references, some graphic nudity, violence and drug use.