Most people are guilty of wishing they had another job than the one they currently work, but taking this fantasy and actually making it a reality down to the uniform and the car detail is probably not the smartest idea, which is why this very idea works so well for a comedy. Let’s Be Cops runs with this premise for the entirety of the film and due to great storytelling never really gets tired.
The film stars New Girl alum Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr., who play Ryan and Justin respectively. These 30-something guys aren’t exactly living the dream in L.A. When they to decide to dress as cops for a costume party and find that they get mistaken for the real thing, they take it one step further and actually start patrolling the streets. For Ryan, this is a new lease on life given his dream as an actor has resulted in one successful herpes ad, while Justin finally gets the courage to ask dream girl/waitress Josie (Nina Dobrev) out. But things hit a snag when local gangster Mossi (James D’Arcy) wants Josie for himself and will do just about anything to get her. Through investigating Mossi and his gang do our wannabe detectives discover a deeper plot involving confiscated artillery and dirty cops, led by head honcho Brolin (Andy Garcia). With the help of honest cop Segars (Rob Riggle) and informant Pupa (Keegan-Michael Key) our heroes discover that maybe they aren’t half bad at this cop gig.
Without great story telling a movie can feel like a mind numbing experience that you cannot wait to end. Let’s Be Cops, although not always funny, was flawless in the way the plot evolved and moved forward. There weren’t any real unnecessary plot devices put in for the sake of it, each character and development was a push in the right direction and kept the film moving at a steady pace. Once the guys were focused on the Brolin/Mossi situation, it created a chance for the characters to actually take police work seriously, which it is, and instead shone a light on the work these real men and women do day in and day out. This a testament to director Luke Greenfield for acknowledging such heroics that these officers do every day, and chose to include some serious moments in an otherwise light-hearted film.
Comedy duo Johnson and Wayans Jr are no strangers to the funny scene given their current leading roles on their hit television series New Girl. Here they are both given a chance to work their comedic chops in different roles as usual, with Johnson stepping away from the sarcastic, dry humour we’ve come to expect from him in the past and instead play a goofball, opposite Wayans Jr’s. more straight-laced, but equally funny partner. Given their history, both play the buddy-buddy thing brilliantly, bouncing off each other with a quick wit and comradery that added believability to the friendship, which helped with the comedic timing and gags that were ever present.
Let’s Be Cops is a fresh comedy that also manages to throw some heartfelt and sincere moments in for good measure, which is a rarity in this day and age. Although there aren’t too many ‘laugh out loud’ moments, it is one of the better comedies to come out of 2014 so far.
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