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dir Kevin Smith
scr Robb Cullen, Mark Cullen
prd Polly Cohen Johnsen, Marc Platt, Michael Tadross
with Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Adam Brody, Kevin Pollak, Seann William Scott, Ana de la Reguera, Guillermo Diaz, Rashida Jones, Michelle Trachtenberg, Jason Lee, Susie Essman, Fred Armisen
release US 26.Feb.10, UK 21.May.10
10/US Warner 1h47
Good cop, bad cop: Morgan and Willis
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Trying to make up for a lack of genuine wit, this film adopts a frenetic pace with a constant stream of jokes and action. The result is watchable, occasionally funny and instantly forgettable.
Cops Jimmy and Paul (Willis and Morgan) have been partners for nine years but, after a chase goes horribly wrong, they're suspended for a month. While Paul suspects his wife (Jones) of infidelity, Jimmy's daughter (Trachtenberg) is planning an extravagant wedding. To pay for it, Jimmy decides to sell a valuable baseball card, which is promptly stolen by a low-life goon (Scott) and passed on to a murderous gangster (Diaz). So Jimmy calls Paul to help him get it back. It's not like they have anything better to do.
With a constant barrage of high-octane mayhem, the odds are that some of the jokes will hit the mark. And there are several amusing bits along the way, including some laugh-out-loud moments, mainly because of Willis' and Morgan's high-energy performances, strong chemistry and expert timing. This is kind of undermined by a steady stream of brutal violence. Not to mention the rather large number of gags that misfire badly.
Smith directs with occasional flashes of style, but he also encourages the actors to deliver performance that are oddly both hammy and lazy. This works when actors are delivering his own snappy dialog, but not so well with this goofy script. In particular, the banter between Willis and Morgan sparks with improvisational flair, but often becomes grating (we never believe that they've been partners for nine years). Throw in Scott's cocky chucklehead thief and it's downright ridiculous. At least most of the one-scene characters are shameless scene-chewers.
The worst thing is that as the film progresses you get the sinking feeling that the writers are going to, erm, cop out on their own premise. It's one of those underwritten scripts that tries to be oh-so-clever but just ends up annoying any audience member with a brain due to all of the coincidences, contrivances and fake edginess. On the other hand, it's rather good fun watching these actors try to upstage each other in every scene.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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