January 27, 2023
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Life & Culture

Review: ‘Let’s Be Cops’ hampered by clumsy narrative

"Let's Be Cops"

Directed by Luke Greenfield

As sirens blare in the background, red and blue lights reflect off the gold police badges of Ryan O’Malley (Jake Johnson) and Justin Miller (Damon Wayans Jr.). They proceed slowly and yell “Police!” while knocking four times forcefully on the front door. Together, O’Malley and Miller are settling a domestic disturbance in Los Angeles. There’s just one problem: The two are not police officers. What ensues is “Let’s Be Cops,” the turbulent story of two best friends as they struggle to rediscover who they are. Unfortunately, the pair’s comedic antics are lost to shoddy story development and lackluster pacing throughout.

Dressed like police officers at a costume party, Miller and O’Malley feel invincible after partygoers believe that they are actual cops. This feeling spurs the two to take the charade a little too far, and soon they find themselves in the middle of an underground gang operation. Even though it is safer to let the actual professionals handle the case, the two 30-year-olds pursue it, deciding this is their time to prove to the world and to themselves that they are not losers.

However, even though the film seeks to prove the worth of the two unambitious characters, the movie may disappoint audiences. At first, the audience may believe that “Let’s Be Cops” will be hilarious, but the film loses its allure after the first 45 minutes. It seems that the film’s producers were preoccupied with creating a funny movie instead of one with depth, and as a result, the film is full of rude and sarcastic remarks that do not add any substance to the storyline or the characters. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few enjoyable scenes, the film fails at both telling a memorable story and wooing the crowd with its comedy.

This raunchy, loud and slapstick style could be better utilized in a film that has better pacing and is a bit shorter than the 104–minute run time of “Let’s Be Cops.” As a result of its repetitive nature, “Let’s Be Cops” trudges forward at a slow pace, and after the film reveals that Johnson and Wayans were going to impersonate police officers, no other significant events occurred. This lack of suspense contributes to the sluggish pacing, and throughout the film the audience may wonder exactly where the story is going.

Fortunately, during the last several minutes, the pace quickens and the film finally gives the audience what it wants to see: action, comedy and story colliding, ultimately creating a heart-thumping finale to the disastrous tale.

Despite these criticisms, “Let’s Be Cops” thrives when it comes to the chemistry between characters. Johnson and Wayans work well together whether they are fighting or just goofing around. This fantastic duo ignites laughter in the audience with the characters’ all-around good nature and energy. The disheveled, outgoing character of Johnson fits well with the more cautious, put-together character of Wayans, thus creating a perfect on-screen relationship.

Yet no matter how well the two worked together, their charisma and chemistry could not save the film from its ungraceful fall into mediocrity. “Let’s Be Cops” could be best described as a light-hearted, flashy and ultimately unimpressive film. It tries to portray the transformation of two best friends, but that change is lost because of the ridiculousness of the film. Sadly, the overpowering gags and overworked scenes mask the mediocre character transformations and may leave the audience unsatisfied.