I hate being so generic as to do the obvious here and compare Let’s Be Cops to a sitcom, but that’s exactly what Let’s Be Cops is: A badly written, lazily executed and nearly two-hour episode of New Girl featuring only Coach and Nick dressing up like police officers, goofing off, and inadvertently getting caught up in a gun-smuggling investigation. Calling a movie “sitcommy” is usually an insult, but it doesn’t have to be. Sitcoms are great! I love sitcoms! I love New Girl. Coach and Nick are fantastic characters.
But Let’s Be Cops is a lousy, terrible no good movie.
Granted, if they took the best parts of Let’s Be Cops and condensed them into an episode of New Girl, it could be a terrific 22-minute installment. There are several moments that are very funny in Let’s Be Cops. Unfortunately, there are many, many, many more moments that are not funny. That do not approach funny. That a boring. And badly written. And joyless. And sucky.
“But, but Dustin!” some of you are saying. “I could watch Coach and Nick Miller read the phone book for two hours!”
It’s a nice sentiment, bless your heart, but you don’t really mean it. I like your spirit, though. And your loyalty. Alas, Let’s Be Cops would test that loyalty. It would make you question your commitment to Damon Wayans and Jake Johnson. Don’t risk it.
Johnson’s character is the gung-ho loose-cannon in the buddy-cop formula, the former college football star turned unemployed do-nothing. He plays Ryan to Damon Wayans’ straight-laced Justin, a struggling and insecure video-game designer. After Justin’s failed pitch involving a video game about cops, the two decide to go to a costume party wearing the police-officer uniforms Justin had bought for his video game pitch. They find that, when people mistake them for actual cops, they get the respect they don’t get in their real lives, so they decide to continue wearing the police officer uniforms.
There’s your premise.
A waitress named Josie (Nina Dobrev, who is so, so very bad in this), who Justin has had a crush on, finally takes notice of him in his uniform, and when a bad guy comes in to shake down her diner, Ryan and Justin step in in their roles as “police officers.” Justin and Ryan get pulled into the investigation, and, I’m sure you can see where this is going. What you cannot predict, however, is Dobrev’s accent, which seems to change from scene to scene.
While there are a couple of moments where the chemistry of Wayans and Johnson can’t help but to break through, their personalities are badly cast against type. The curmudgeonly, sourpus Johnson we like from New Girl is transformed into the smiley go-getter here. Meanwhile, it’s Wayans’ overconfidence that usually makes his characters work so well, and here he’s a limp, insecure dick.
It doesn’t work. It’s absolute sh*t, folks.