LET’S BE COPS. Starring Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr, Rob Riggle, James D'Arcy, Andy Garcia. Directed by Luke Greenfield. 102 minutes. Rated MA (Sexual references, nudity, coarse language).
If you are invited to a fancy dress party, what would you choose to wear? The two ‘heroes’ of this comedy decide to go as cops. They get ready. They think they look smart. They arrive – and make an impression because, in fact, it is only a masked party and the guests take them for real. From this unlikely premise, comes a comedy which turns rather serious.
And who are these heroes? One is Ryan (Jake Johnson) who had the talent to be a significant sportsman but had to bail out because of injury (later revealed as a stupid jump rather than being hurt on the field). The other is Justin (Damon Wayans Jr), rather timid in his manner, who is an ideas man in a company which makes computer games. When he presents his spiel for Patrolman, the executives mock him. Which means that both are in a somewhat bad place.
But, wearing the police outfit, and people at the party mistaking them for real police, they succumb to the obvious temptation. Let’s be cops!
Part of the comedy is their wandering the streets, intimidating people, leading them on, even being accepted by real police. They get a great kick out of all of this. What could go wrong?
They become involved with some local people who are being pressurised by thugs for a drug and arms-dealing boss. As they investigate further, and make contact with actual police, they decide that they will do a bit of detective work, which leads them, of course, into dangerous ground. The chief gangster and his henchmen impose protection fees on various shopkeepers, and are violently intense (James D’Arcy). And then there is one of the chief detectives (Andy Garcia) who definitely complicates matters.
There is an early quote from Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, getting too old… But, the Lethal Weapon reference must have given the screenwriters some ideas because that is what the plot turns into, entanglements with the thugs, confrontations with the boss, and some exercise of those lethal weapons.
There is a touch of romance as well. At the end, of course, Ryan has found his vocation, and Justin has an idea for a videogame. He changes from a rather meek type to a forceful type and all will be well (and, depending on box office, for a sequel). One of those comedies if you have nothing better to do.
In many ways the whole thing plays something like a computer game itself.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Released 13th November 2014.