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Let's Be Cops


Stars: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans, Nina Dobrev, Rob Riggle, James D'Arcy, Andy Garcia

Director: Luke Greenfield

This has been a big success in the States, so it's sad to record that it could have been so much better. Not quite crude enough for gross-out, not funny enough as a comedy, the film can't even take its action seriously enough to hack it as a comedy-thriller. The opportunities are there in all three departments, but director Greenfield fails to make the most of them. Consequently, his film threatens to entertain us but never quite succeeds.

Its leading characters are both losers: Justin (Wayans), a milquetoast video game designer and his pal Ryan (Johnson), an unemployed Brooklyn bantam whose career as a (US) football star (he doesn't look big enough) was curtailed by injury.

Donning police costumes for a fancy dress party (Ryan has blundered as usual -it turns out to be a masked ball) the duo feels a new sense of empowerment. But, after a few pranks, they enter dangerous territory when helping Justin's putative girlfriend (Dobrev), whose shopkeeper parents are at the mercy of an East European protection racket.

Somehow seeing the gangsters off, the boys continue the deception, befriending a real policeman (Riggle), who, believing them genuine, gets them the equipment for a surveillance detail. Ryan actually proves to have an aptitude for police work (though both men are scared of guns) and identifies not only the lethal Slavs' chief (D'Arcy) but also the big boss (Garcia paying the mortgage) behind him.

Taking their findings to the real police, they are introduced to the district's chief gangbuster, who proves to be...but, no, you guessed it.

Wayans and Johnson, who faintly resembles Joe Pesci, are energetic and eager, but not given the material or direction their enthusiasm deserves.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
104 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 24 Aug 2014