Radio 02.26.10
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” and here’s my commentary on “Cop Out,” a film opening today at The Majestic Theater in Greenville
Bruce Willis is back.  The fact that he plays a cop certainly is no surprise.  But this time he’s a lot more vulnerable.  Even a little silly.  But that’s no surprise, either, considering the Director is Kevin Smith.  Who else could get away with a prisoner interrogation that doubles as a farcical send-up to other cop movies?
In fact, there’s a fine line between drama and comedy in this whole film.  At one level, it’s a “buddy movie”:  Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan (who cares about their screen names?) play a couple of NYPD squad car partners.  After nine years of partnership, Tracy gives Bruce a “Happy Anniversary” card, with a name scratched out.  This, after Tracy begs Bruce to let him play the bad cop this time, and for a while, at least, they manage to pull off the “good actors acting badly” routine.  Yes, there are sight gags, and plenty of raunch humor, some of which is actually funny, in a low-key, chuckling kind of way.  There’s even a plot line in here somewhere.  Bruce, the divorced Dad, wants desperately to provide the wedding that his daughter (Michelle Trachtenberg) has always wanted.  But he doesn’t have a dime.  He does, however, possess an old baseball card, that he’s convinced is worth enough to pay for the entire wedding, and not rely on her mother’s smarmy new husband.  The trouble is, the baseball card gets stolen in a robbery, which in turn leads to a Mexican drug gang, which in turn puts our jokester cops on the trail of some nasty banditos.
So, do they suddenly turn into real detectives, with actual shooting skills and case-solving street smarts?  Without also losing our focus as a “buddy comedy”?  Well, yes, it’s a commendable attempt.  But in the end, we have to rely on the viewers just forgetting about identifying what genre they’re looking at, and just enjoying the characters as presented, including the drug lord’s captured girlfriend, who cusses a blue streak, gestures and captions.  As if that makes the scatology once removed?
            And while we’re on the once-removed, how about a killer asking the priest in the confessional for forgiveness, without specifying the sin, then swearing at him, then angrily reciting the “Hail Mary” prayer before storming out of the booth?  Or how about a formal wedding where the minister is reading Psalm 23, more commonly recited at funerals?  As if we can play a role, but really be playing at it?
            Well, there’s “Cop-Out” for you. 
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” for 93-5 KICK-FM.