A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this buddy cop comedy (starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan) is directed by Kevin Smith, who is infamous for pushing the limits of an R-rating. This movie is no exception. Both the movie's humor, language, and violence are pretty extreme. Not only are there so many swear words (F-bombs in particular) it's nearly impossible to count, but there are lots of explicit sexual jokes (about everything from positions to prison rape to infidelity), though no actual sex scenes. The violence isn't grisly, but there is a considerable body count and several gang-style executions.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
New York City police detectives Jimmy (Bruce Willis) and Paul (Tracy Morgan) have been partners for nine years, but a botched operation gets them unexpectedly suspended without pay. Jimmy, desperate for cash, decides to sell a prized baseball card he inherited from his father to pay for his daughter's dream wedding. Unfortunately for Jimmy, the priceless card ends up in the possession of a baseball-obsessed drug kingpin Po' Boy (Guillermo Diaz), who convinces the cops to return his stolen Mercedes in exchange for the card. When the duo recovers the car, they realize that it's not the Mercedes that Po' Boy wants, but the tied-up Mexican woman named Gabriela (Ana de la Reguera) in the trunk. As the baseball card takes a backseat to helping Gabriela, Jimmy and Paul fight off Po' Boy and his henchmen bent on killing them and kidnapping Gabriela.
Is it any good?
There are so many ways Kevin Smith's latest comedy disappoints, it's difficult to know where to begin. Clearly this is an homage (or "hoe-midge" as Paul would say) to classic cop buddy comedies like 48 Hours and Lethal Weapon. But as with on-screen lovers, the odd-couple effect among the "buddies" has to crackle with comedic chemistry for these types of movies to work. In COP OUT, Willis and Morgan don't exude a believable buddy appeal. Sure, Willis seems modestly amused by Morgan's antics, which include quoting dozens of films (even Die Hard, in a moment of wink-wink self-indulgence) as he interrogates a suspect, but that's about it.
The audience never grows to care about Jimmy's desire to pay for his sweet daughter's wedding or Paul's misguided and incessant jealousy over his wife's (Rashida Jones) harmless relationship with their neighbor. Diaz (best known for his work as a drug dealer on Showtime's Weeds) hams it up as the sandwich-monikered druglord, and supporting actors Kevin Pollack and Adam Brody are entertaining as fellow NYPD detectives who are trying to solve the rash of gang-related murders that trace back to Po' Boy. Their brief banter and quirky idiosyncrasies (one is a luxury boot aficionado, and the other tries to impress him with his own pair of fancy boots) make them far more compelling partners than Jimmy and Paul. Clerks and Chasing Amy fans beware, this is one of Smith's worst offerings, and that includes Jersey Girl.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Jimmy and Paul's relationship. Are they good partners? How are they more loyal to each other than anyone else in their lives?
What about the violence? How do the violence and comedy relate to each other?
Is all of the swearing necessary? Does strong language make the dialogue funnier, or does it lose its impact, because it's used so often?
How do Kevin Smith and the screenwriters pay tribute to past cop comedies? How does this movie compare to others in the genre?
- In theaters: February 26, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: July 19, 2010
- Cast: Bruce Willis, Seann William Scott, Tracy Morgan
- Director: Kevin Smith
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: pervasive language including sexual references, violence and brief sexuality
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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.