Directed by Luke Greenfield
Written by Luke Greenfield, Nicholas Thomas
Starring Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans, Nina Dobrev.
Two struggling pals dress as police officers for a costume party and become neighborhood sensations. But when these newly-minted “heroes” get tangled in a real life web of mobsters and dirty detectives, they must put their fake badges on the line.
There is certainly something to be said for taking an opportunity firmly in both hands when it arises. In the case of our two luckless, hapless losers here, this is a chord that strikes loud and clear. In Let’s Be Cops, two friends, who are slightly too old to behave in such a manner, discover quite by accident, the benefits of impersonating police officers in Los Angeles and decide to take advantage in order to live out some personal fantasies of their own. Before long, however, they discover that there are just as many pitfalls.
As buddy movies go, especially cop buddies, we have admittedly seen all of this before and done with much more style and finesse, but Luke Greenfield and Nicholas Thomas have taken the notion that many will have considered before of what it would be like to be a police officer without any of the official responsibility and decided to present us with an extreme example of just what great power used carelessly can mean, with often amusing, if not altogether hilarious, results.
Starring Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans as the play-acting idiots in question, you might initially expect this to be little more than just plain anarchic, but whilst there is the requisite amount of filth employed to make audience both giggle and squirm (watch out for a sweaty, overweight, naked man and his testicles), this is not quite the farce you may have rolled your eyes at when you first became aware of its existence. There are mildly racist pokes, as well as the inevitable sexist innuendo that can only come from two highly charged males on the prowl.
When our two heroes (?) dress up as police officers for what they wrongly believe is a fancy dress party, they are pleasantly surprised by the reaction they receive from the general public. As a couple of nobodies in real life, this adulation and admiration is welcome and particularly in the case of failed footballer, Ryan (Johnson), it is practically addictive. Best friend Justin (Wayans) is more reluctant, but easily swayed as even he can see the benefits these slightly underhanded actions will provide.
Cue these two fake officers testing out their new found powers on an unsuspecting public, which unfortunately for them includes the local crime lord, Mossi (James Darcy), who unsurprisingly doesn’t take too kindly to these new faces queering up his pitch. Both Mossi and Justin take a liking to waitress/make-up artist Josie (Nina Dobrev), albeit for different reasons, and it is at this point that the charade begins to unravel as this seemingly innocent fun turns a fair degree more dangerous.
It should really go without saying that you’re not going to get much satisfaction from Let’s Be Cops if you’re anything remotely resembling a cinematic purist. The comedy is often base level (general toilet humour and light-hearted racism) but the script will quite often surprise you both with its candour and its sometimes above average wit. The performances by all concerned are good enough to get by on and the inclusion of Andy Garcia is a welcome one, even if you felt he was slightly to expensive and henceforth slightly underused.
The laughs are mostly cheap, however, and you will rarely be found helplessly holding your sides for fear of splitting them, but like The Inbetweeners 2 earlier this month, there is fun to be had and you will most likely find yourself smiling throughout.
Written for Media Pick
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