Let’s Be Cops

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Two longtime pals, Justin, a reject video game designer, and Ryan, a washed up college quarterback, recall a pact they once made: if they hadn’t “made it” in Los Angeles by the time they were thirty, they would head back to their Toledo, Ohio hometown. While exiting a bar, their car is hit by a vehicle full of Albanians, who intimidate them into doing nothing.

Justin attempts to pitch a game about policemen but is dismissed by his employer. Later, Ryan convinces him to use the police uniforms from his presentation as costumes for their college reunion party. Upon attending, both are confronted with their failures and mutually accept to honor their pact. As they walk home, they are treated like real cops and decide to enjoy the gag. It allows Justin to finally get the attention of Josie, a waitress to whom he is attracted and who works at a local diner, Georgie’s.

Ryan decides to take the hoax further than one night. He learns official procedures and buys a used police cruiser, modifying it to resemble the genuine article. Although reluctant, Justin agrees to continue the charade, and through it begins a relationship with Josie. Ryan gets revenge on the Albanians who hit his car, unaware they are actually mobsters blackmailing the owner of Georgie’s. During their many shenanigans, Ryan and Justin end up on a real distress call with Patrol Officer Segars. The experience shakes Justin, who realizes they face serious jail time if exposed. He tries to “retire,” but gets a phone call from Josie about a man frequently harassing her at work. It turns out to be Mossi Kasic, leader of the Albanian mobsters. Once more, the pair are intimidated into doing nothing.

Via Segars, Ryan obtains surveillance equipment to gather evidence and put Mossi away, along with an unidentified partner who has been investigating the pair. Ryan convinces Justin to do an undercover operation to obtain information on an incriminating shipment of crates. During the mission, they discover the crates full of SWAT equipment, along with secret tunnels in which they are shipped that run between Mossi’s club and Georgie’s restaurant. This necessitates the acquisition of the restaurant, explaining the blackmail. After a few close encounters, they barely escape. Fed up, Justin insists on mailing the evidence anonymously, but Ryan, finding purpose in his life again, is set on delivering it personally. They fight, and part ways.

Ryan brings his evidence to Segars, who recommends it go to the highest authority, which is Detective Brolin. Unfortunately, Brolin is actually Mossi’s partner. After instantly recognizing each other, Ryan makes it out of the station, but his sudden threat has blown their cover. Meanwhile, Justin decides to man up and, in uniform, assertively pitches his game again. One of Brolin’s officers shows up to try and kill him, inadvertently helping to sell the pitch. Ryan is abducted, and Mossi sends a threatening message to Justin. Overwhelmed, Justin pleas to Segars for help after admitting everything. He also confesses to Josie, which he had made previous attempts to do, and she disgustedly leaves him.

Justin goes into the tunnels alone while Ryan pits Mossi and Brolin against each other, prompting Mossi to shoot and kill the detective. Justin attempts to save his friend, but is overpowered. Segars arrives, causing Mossi and his crew to retreat. Segars admonishes the duo for their deception and orders them to leave before going after the mobsters without waiting for backup. Ryan and Justin agree they can’t abandon him, and suit up with the SWAT equipment. They save Segars, but he becomes incapacitated. The pair then face Mossi alone, during which the two reconcile. They fail to take him out, but luckily, Segars is able to show up and shoots Mossi in the back of the chest, saving Justin and Ryan.

Thanks to the respective confidence and motivation gained during their impersonations, Justin has become a successful game developer, while Ryan graduates from the police academy as a true, fully-fledged member of the LAPD. Justin apologizes to Josie, and after she forgives him, they rekindle their relationship. Ryan, however, still has not given up on their fun as cops together, and convinces Justin to don the fake uniform once again and join him on patrol.

REVIEW:

Police officers need some kind of good publicity now, since a few bad eggs are making them all seem as rotten as spoiled milk. Perhaps Let’s Be Cops will at least paint the police in a positive light, even if out here in the real world it is getting harder and harder to trust them.

What is this about?

When two pals show up at a costume party dressed as cops, they end up being mistaken for the real thing and get drawn into a bona-fide crime drama. Despite a lack of experience in police work, the duo takes their new roles seriously.

What did I like?

No drama. These days it is hard to tell what is a comedy and what is a drama because films in the so-called “comedy” genre start off funny and about halfway through they turn into Grey’s Anatomy and never really get back into the groove they had at the start. Thankfully this film doesn’t fall into that trap. Yes, there is a hint of drama, but it is more so that we can become emotionally attached to these characters.

Stick to your genre. Continuing on that thought track, a film like this just screams to make an attempt at being a buddy cop flick, forgoing the comedy for action and one-liners. Again, the powers that be remembered that this is a comedy first. Yes, there is some action, but it is hardly enough to even mention, other than the climax. Kudos to the filmmakers for sticking to the genre.

New guys. There is some real chemistry between Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. (who looks and sounds almost exactly like his dad!!!). I think we may be watching the beginning of a new comedy team and/or comedic movie careers. Working together on New Girl probably helped make this transition as smooth as possible, I would imagine. The scenes when they are just acting as roommate feels like a couple of guys who live together and are just messing with each other because they are old friends. They really capture that aspect of these characters. Throw in their comedic talent and it is no wonder this film works on so many levels.

What didn’t I like?

Plausibility. Let’s say aliens were to come down to Earth and watch a movie that would tell them about our culture. For the sake of this example, they watched this film. When they assume human form, they also assume they can just wear a police officers uniform and get away with anything. Maybe that’s what’s going on with the cops today. Hmmm… Seriously, though, how is it that all one has to do is slap on a uniform and everyone takes them as cops. Surely they would have been figured out way before it got to the point that they were “helping” with a case. If not, then anyone can just slap on a uniform and do the same thing.

Odd couple. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. One roommate is tall, neurotic, possibly a neat freak, working hard to get his stuff together. The other is shorter, rounder, borderline slob, and has no idea where his life is headed. With some slight variations this is the plot to just about any comedy that involves roommates, most notably The Odd Couple. While it is a formula that has been tested time and time again, isn’t it time we come up with something else? Or is this more proof that no one has any original ideas anymore?

Sorority girls. There is a scene a little before the midway point where the fake cops are sent to sorority house. First off, I don’t know what kind of sorority only had 3 girls. Second, this scene seemed like something that Damon Jr.’s uncle Marlon would put in is his films, what with the “hood rat” girls fighting over some guy. I’m not sure what is more troubling, that or the fact that they just didn’t even acknowledge the super hot chick that made the call, answered the door, and just stood off to the side.

Let’s Be Cops is a film that probably could be turned into two or three more films, if they do it right. Unlike Ride Along, where the strength of the film lies in the names of the actors and not the actual story, this one is actually one to remember. Having said that, the villains are generic cartoons, but for this kind of film, they work. I do with Nina Dobrev and Keegan-Michael Key would’ve gotten bigger parts, though, more so with Dobrev. I won’t mention the tease she does to the audience (she starts to take her dress off, but all we see is her back). Key is typical Key. This guy is getting some major work and is killing it in everything, from being the President’s anger management translator at the White House correspondent’s dinner, to his role in Pitch Perfect 2, and now this. Oh, and Key & Peele is still on the air. Enough beating around the bush! Do I recommend this? Yes, while not the best film in the world, it is a comedy featuring relatable characters is absurd situations that will most likely brighten your day. Give it a shot!

4 out of 5 stars

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