A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Let's Be Cops is an over-the-top comedy about two average guys who decide to impersonate Los Angeles police officers and end up becoming embroiled in a real mob scheme. There's a lot of shooting and fighting, as well as tons of swearing (with every word you can imagine in almost every scene), some drinking, and drug use (both pot and crystal meth). The violence is pretty realistic, and when people get shot or punched, it really hurts. Characters also make sexual references, flirt, and kiss; in one scene, a woman takes off her top (she's shown from the back), and in another, an officer trying to apprehend a naked man ends up in close proximity to the man's genitals.
What's the story?
Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Ryan (Jake Johnson) are both pushing 30 and still haven't made it big after moving to Los Angeles from Ohio. Justin's desperate to get his video game project launched, but his company still treats him like an intern; Ryan's got no acting gigs (or actual professional goals, for that matter) after one stint in a herpes commercial. After dressing up as LAPD officers to attend a costume party, the duo discovers that the uniform lends them some cachet. Jaded with their real identities, they decide to start patrolling the city. But wearing the uniform comes with major responsibilities, including dealing with a vicious mobster who's marauding L.A. in partnership with an unknown criminal.
Is it any good?
LET'S BE COPS owes a lot to New Girl; its two leads successfully migrate the strikingly warm and funny rapport they share on that sitcom to this formulaic but still (somewhat) entertaining comedy. Both Wayans and Johnson throw themselves into the plot with such gusto ... which makes it even more of a pity that the screenplay is a retread of every single buddy comedy that ever was.
As a love interest, Nina Dobrev isn't given much to do besides play girl needing rescuing. (Aren't we tired of this cliche yet?) Then again, neither is anybody else, including Andy Garcia, who's criminally underused, and even the two headliners, who manage to eke out something close to entertaining even though they're left to their own devices by the so-so material and all-too-basic direction.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of "hard R" comedies like Let's Be Cops. Would they be as funny without all of the swearing and crass humor? Who are they intended to appeal to?
How does the movie portray drinking and drug use? Are there realistic consequences?
How do people's reactions to Ryan and Justin change when they're in uniform? How does this affect them? Why does Josie's opinion of Justin change when she learns more about his true identity?
- In theaters: August 13, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: November 11, 2014
- Cast: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr., Nina Dobrev, Rob Riggle
- Director: Luke Greenfield
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language including sexual references, some graphic nudity, violence and drug use
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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.