Let’s hope there isn’t a rash of police impersonation incidents following the release of Let’s Be Cops.
Let’s hope (in vain, no doubt) that this tasteless and obnoxious buddy comedy with an ill-conceived premise and a poorly written script takes a dive at the box office.
Let’s not delve too deeply into why the film opens with the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” or that none of the five members — one of the leads reminds us — never had a post-boy-band solo career like, say, Justin Timberlake of Nsync.
Let’s instead get right to the story of two roommates living in L.A. and going nowhere when Ryan (Jake Johnson) somehow procures two authentic police uniforms to use in a pitch for his pal, Justin’s (Damon Wayans Jr.) latest video game idea.
Let’s overlook the fact that slacker Ryan, with no visible means of support, manages to then trick out an old police car bought on eBay with all the gadgetry needed for a working police car (except, for some reason, licence plates). Soon the two are trolling the mean streets where they encounter some Eastern European gangsters menacing a restaurant where Justin’s would-be girlfriend, Josie (Nina Dobrev) works.
Let’s look at the actual chemistry between the two leads that so often makes buddy comedies work. There’s almost none, since they don’t riff off each other particularly well. It’s almost like Johnson, obnoxiously tedious in his portrayal of a former football star waylaid by an injury and Wayans Jr., whose comic styling involves a lot of hand gestures and facial twitching, are in two different movies.
(Let’s not concern ourselves too deeply with why Ryan spends his days hanging out with postpubescent boys, one of whom becomes embroiled in their adventures.)
Let’s consider why a fine actor like Andy Garcia shows up briefly as villainous turncoat Detective Brolin — alimony, unpaid taxes, addiction issues. The other main villain, Mossi (James D’Arcy) is simply not menacing.
Let’s be grateful that the gross-out humour is kept to a relative minimum, though the scene in which an overweight, naked perp’s testicles come perilously close to Justin’s face during a takedown is appallingly memorable in the worst way.
Let’s overlook the fact that the film’s distributors refused to offer an advance screening for movie critics. They know and we know that the film is going to be poorly reviewed.
Finally, let’s earnestly hope there is no sequel.