A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cop and a Half: New Recruit isn't a sequel to the 1993 movie Cop and a Half .This one has a new cast and features an outgoing 12-year-old girl with a passion for law enforcement and investigative work. Her late father had been a cop and this motivates her to latch onto and assist a broken-down detective in solving a case involving malicious drone activities. There are a few threatening moments in this comedy, but the acting and script are largely over the top, silly, and too implausible to scare anyone. Drones fly around expelling projectiles that look like bullets but don't seem to really hurt anyone badly. A giant drone shoots projectiles that set things on fire. A bomb explodes in a warehouse, but no one is hurt. Language includes "butt," "bowel movements," "dirt ball," and "pipsqueak."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Karina (Lulu Wilson) is an outgoing 12-year-old, the recruit in COP AND A HALF: NEW RECRUIT. She brazenly speaks to adults as if they were less than her peers and seems to live an independent life. Her lovely but out-of-the-loop mother (Gina Holden), a widowed and seemingly busy nurse, is unaware of Karina's outside interests. She doesn't know that Karina has foisted herself on Detective Simmons (Lou Diamond Phillips), a downtrodden cop who harbors guilt for letting a particular criminal get away years before. A tech-savvy prankster is embarrassing the cops repeatedly, using technology to cause such inconveniences as exploding toilets, and generally disrupting the town. The police find no clues, save little poems the perp leaves after every dirty trick that are designed to make the humiliation complete. A tech whiz herself, Karina helps Simmons discover the drones used to commit the vandalism, making herself indispensable to the investigation.
Is it any good?
It's always nice to see the likable Lou Diamond Phillips on screen, but he's the most watchable part of this otherwise low-quality movie. Cop and a Half: New Recruit is mostly cringe-inducing. Lulu Wilson as Karina seems like an exceptionally bright and charming girl, but also someone with much to learn about subtlety in performance. The script doesn't make much sense. The police force is treating a mere nuisance as if it were the crime of the century. Why? Most puzzling is the fact that at the movie's supposed moment of greatest danger, when the criminal grabs hold of Karina and threatens to harm her, you have to wonder what he might do to her -- twist her arm really hard? He has no knife at her throat, no gun to her head. Yet Detective Simmons pulls his gun on the guy and keeps his distance, as if the perp might shoot or stab Karina. In that situation, the only one truly under threat is the unarmed perp with the gun aimed at him.
This is just another movie about a smart kid that isn't itself smart enough to be interesting.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how kids sometimes want to grow up to be like their parents. Karina's deceased father had been a cop and she has inherited his enthusiasm for finding criminals and bringing them to justice. What do you think inspires kids to want to go into a particular profession? What do you want to do, and why?
Did Cop and a Half: New Recruit make you laugh? What are your favorite comedies?
Does it seem realistic that a police captain eventually welcomes Karina's assistance? Why might it be problematic to have a kid helping out on a case?
- On DVD or streaming: August 1, 2017
- Cast: Lou Diamond Phillips, Lulu Wilson, Gina Holden
- Director: Jonathan A. Rosenbaum
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: for some mild action and rude humor
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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