Movie Review: ‘Let’s Be Cops’ Gives You the Right to Remain Silent (and You Will Be for Most of It)


Preston Barta // Critic

LET’S BE COPS | 104 min. | Rated R | Director: Luke Greenfield | Stars: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr., Rob Riggle, Nina Dobrev, James D’Arcy, Keegan-Michael Key, Natasha Leggero and Andy Garcia

Rating: 2/4

lets_be_copsWith a cast as good as this, how bad could it really be? I mean, you have Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr., who are both great on the hit show NEW GIRL. But as it turns out with their latest release, LET’S BE COPS, you need more than just two great performers.

LET’S BE COPS has a funny enough premise of two struggling friends who dress up as police officers and become neighborhood sensations. And the funniest bits – the most enjoyable pieces are near the beginning, when the duo is discovering what they can get away with wearing the uniform and fake badges.

It’s only when the movie moves beyond them playing with their cop powers – getting mixed in with some real mobsters and solving real crimes – does it go from being silly to ridiculous. But really, this is just a SNL skit stretched out to a feature (or a lifted idea from that Serpico episode of IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA).

As said, Johnson and Wayans Jr. are good leads, and they possess the power to keep you mildly entertained, even when the movie around them doesn’t pay them much support. But there is more at play when making movies. It’s been said a hundred times before: you need a good director, a good script, editor, etc. It’s a collaborative process that has to click in all areas, or else, it is doomed to fail.

Sadly, LET’S BE COPS is a summer dud – a film that studios were hoping would be comedy gold and provide rapid fire laughs, but instead will soon be that film that you will see in the $5 bin at Best Buy or Wal-mart around Thanksgiving, begging to be a stocking stuffer as you walk out the doorway. And while the film does cause you to snicker from time-to-time – especially one scene involving Keegan-Michael Key (pictured above) and Wayans Jr. – it’s not enough to throw your money at the box office. So keep your money in your pocket, or once again, go see GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, because repeat viewings won’t hold any laughs back.

LET’S BE COPS is now playing in theaters.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.