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Author: Courtney Martin
February 27, 2010

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OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Two longtime NYPD partners are on the trail of a stolen, rare, mint-condition baseball card who find themselves up against a merciless, memorabilia-obsessed gangster. But before they can recover the prized `52 Pafko, they must first rescue a Mexican beauty who holds the key to millions of dollars in off-shore bank accounts -- and who has already witnessed one high-profile murder because of them.
DIRECTED BY: Kevin Smith
WRITTEN BY: Robb Cullen & Mark Cullen
CAST: Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, and others
OFFICIAL SITE: COPOUTMOVIE.COM

“Two NYPD officers are in pursuit of a dangerous drug cartel.”

Sounds like a promising plot, no? Well yeah, but that’s not what COP OUT is about. It’s not the cartel the two cops are after, but what it has in its possession: a 1952 Pafko, a pretty valuable baseball card. And when you combine the rare, prized possession of a cop and a baseball aficionado drug cartel leader (apparently, they do exist), trouble (and an entire plot revolving around it) must be sure to follow.

However, there's no serious consequence if it isn't retrieved. Sure, his pride is at stake -- Jimmy Monroe's (Bruce Willis) daughter (Michelle Trachtenberg) is getting married, and he'll be damned if his wife's new hubby fronts the bill. He needs to sell his card to pay for her dream 50K wedding. But its simply a pissing match between the two men and the set up is all so inconsequential. Personal woes are had for all.

With Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan) suspecting that his wife (Rashida Jones) is having an affair with the next door neighbor, he enlists the aid of a teddy bear to capture the infidelity. His constant obsessing hinders his already shitty cop skills. This sub-plot -- as well as the relentless car chases and execution style murders -- only serves as unnecessary filler.

And the bad guys in the flick -- Poh Boy and his Mexican drug cartel -- had me cringing and not because of how menacing they were, but because they were so ill-conceived.

I'm not a big fan of either Bruce Willis or Tracy Morgan (except for his work on Tina Faye's, 30 ROCK), but regardless, I accepted the two as a team, hoping that they would deliver and play off of one another well.

Willis seemed unenthusiastic and disinterested throughout the entire movie; unvaried in his performance, and essentially, uninspired.

Morgan, I will admit, had me laughing at the delivery of a few of his lines, but he soon flatlines.

What made it bearable was the Parkour-practicing, oddball burglar, played by Sean Williams Scott. He steals the show (amongst other things) with his juvenile antics -- which are annoying as hell, but endearing.

I couldn't help but feel that the Cullen brothers were pandering to the audience. That things were done for a quick, cheap laugh. Is a cohesive storyline and some fresh dialogue too much to ask for? I really wanted to like COP OUT and for it to have some redeeming element. Clearly it didn't take itself seriously -- only drawing its inspiration from and wanting to pay "homage" to all the buddy cop flicks of the past.

Nonetheless, with tired humor and a sloppy script, I just couldn't get with Kevin Smith's new film. - Courtney Martin

GRADE: D+

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