Let’s Be Cops is a movie that flops over and dies before it even gets under way. The premise alone puts a nail in its coffin. It’s about two born losers who acquire police uniforms and then discover that everyone mistakes them for the real thing – even other cops. From the get-go, I couldn’t clear the thought from my mind, that the film’s heroes are committing a crime that, I think, is a felony in L.A. Added to that, the movie came out at the same moment that the Michael Brown shooting was drawing protests. Bad timing is one thing, bad taste is something else. The studio had time to re-schedule, just saying.
The idiots involved are Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans, Jr.), who have nothing in common but are best buddies because the plot requires it. They are gum on the shoe of life, a minor indifference to bullies, thugs, mobsters, creeps and hot women which, according to this movie, makes up most of civilization.
Justin works at a video game company and I’m not exactly sure what Ryan does. There’s a scene where he walks onto a field and starts coaching kids, but it is soon revealed that he’s actually not suppose to be there – that’s actually a joke. Funny? No. Creepy? You bet.
The plot gets going because Justin is in possession of two police uniforms as part of his presentation for a new game about cops, and Ryan gets the idea of wearing them to their college reunion, which they thought would be a costume party but turns out to be a masquerade ball. Naturally, everyone is intimidated by the uniforms, and Ryan gets the idea to keep up the charade. Ryan buys a police car off Ebay. I checked. You can do that. The one that I saw was listed at about $17,000. Where this guys would get the money to just buy a car off Ebay is a question I am apparently not suppose to ask. Why anyone is allowed to buy a police car off Ebay is a question that’s been rolling around in my brain for days. What happened to this country?
What follows is a long, tasteless and unfunny series of gags in which Ryan and Justin – wearing badges – pull over drunks, crash sorority houses, and pose as strippers. Meanwhile they get in trouble with local mobsters and dodge legit cops who must be the most oblivious people on the face of the earth. No one ever check badge number or calls them before a superior.
Meanwhile the chemistry between Justin and Ryan remains at about a 0.1. The rhythm of these guys is that Ryan get excited about doing cop stuff and Justin tells him no but goes along anyway – lather, rinse, repeat. And that’s the whole movie, just repetition. There’s some business about a hard core mobster (James D’Arcy) who wants these guys dead, but you don’t care about plot, do you?
All of this wouldn’t bother me if the movie were funny, but it’s not. All I kept thinking was that these guys are committing a felony that should end with the two of them behind bars. Naturally, the movie ends with an action climax followed by a happy ending, at least for them. Me? I’m out 104 minutes of my life. Where’s my justice? There oughta be a law.