August 15, 2014 12:25 pm
Updated: August 15, 2014 12:27 pm

What the critics are saying: ‘Let’s Be Cops’


ABOVE: Watch the trailer for Let’s Be Cops.

TORONTO — Let’s Be Cops is a new comedy about the misadventures of two buddies (Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson) who discover that impersonating police officers brings them respect and attention from women.

Directed by Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door), Let’s Be Cops also stars Toronto-raised Nina Dobrev.

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Does it have enough laughs to attract audiences looking for an alternative to dystopian dramas and superhero flicks or will Let’s Be Cops be one of this summer’s flops? Here’s a look at what some of the critics are saying.

“You have the right to remain silent and, for much of Let’s Be Cops, you will be,” said Jordan Hoffman of the New York Daily News.

“This alleged comedy takes a long time before it gets its first laugh in. The first half is a complete slog and the ending is insulting, but there are a few semi-arresting sketch comedy moments.”

Hoffman said the movie suffers from poor timing, given current events in Ferguson and other parts of America.

“A different movie — not a comedy — could analyze America’s obsession with gun culture, violent videogames and authority,” he wrote. “That’s not the movie Cops director Luke Greenfield wanted to make, however, so these serious themes just lurk behind the attempted laughs.”

READ MORE: What the critics are saying about other recent movies

At the Washington Post, Ann Hornaday described Let’s Be Cops as “a down-market Sharknado of buddy-policemen movies.”

“Director and co-writer Luke Greenfield brings no flair or energy to a flimsy premise that, like a piece of gum he’s found on his shoe, only grows thinner and more annoying the longer he tries to stretch it out,” she opined.

“Worse, he fails to capitalize on the chemistry between Johnson and Wayans.”

Hornaday complained the movie relies on “tired bits” and has “lazy plotting and uninspired, workmanlike execution.”

She added: “There’s nothing real about Let’s Be Cops, which, if there’s any justice in the world, should earn its perpetrators a healthy stretch in movie jail.”

Toronto Star reviewer Bruce DeMara called Let’s Be Cops a “tasteless and obnoxious buddy comedy with an ill-conceived premise and poorly written script.”

DeMara said Wayans and Johnson have almost no chemistry. “It’s almost like [they] are in two different movies.”

Kofi Outlaw of Screen Rant said the movie is “harmless enough and charming” but has more than its share of clichés and recycled tropes.”

Let’s Be Cops isn’t terrible — it’s just a long ways from being good or even memorable, for that matter. It’s an odd mishmash of clichéd pieces that are never really arranged cohesively enough for the cast or filmmakers to make something fun – or meaningful – or thrilling – out of them,” Outlaw wrote.

“No need at all to rush out to theatres expecting that last big laugh of the summer movie season; come fall, you’ll be glad you waited to catch these Cops walking the beat on your TV screen.”

But Frank Scheck of The Associated Press praised the two stars for demonstrating “a genuine onscreen chemistry.”

Still, he said, “the lead performers are thoroughly adrift, with Wayans mainly displaying pained expressions throughout and Johnson devolving into unfunny boorish mode.”

Scheck said the end credits feature comic scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor.

“Perversely, they’re funnier than anything that’s preceded them,” he wrote.

Sam Fragoso of Film School Rejects laughed during Let’s Be Cops but disliked the “rampant misogyny, homophobia and poop humour.”

He wrote: “In other words, if you like your movies in which two males treat women poorly, mock homosexuality and repeatedly slap each other in the face, this film is for you.”

Fragoso said the movie feels culturally, politically and cinematically dated.

“If you’re somehow able to overlook the troubling misogyny and cluttered plotting, you’ll still have to deal with what Greenfield and Thomas must believe to be physical humour: slapping. Endless slapping,” he wrote.

“I’m not sure what this physical outburst means to Ryan and Justin, but they sure do love to do it. And as you can probably imagine, after about slap #3, the concept of adult men constantly attacking each other like petulant children is a bit enervating.

“You don’t go into a movie called Let’s Be Cops expecting Chaplin-level slapstick, but Johnson and Wayans Jr. can do — and have done — better than this.”

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