Let’s Be Cops

By Peter Towe

Published on Friday, August 15, 2014


At its core, the premise seemed like a funny enough idea, the only problem is, Let’s Be Cops fails to provide both originality or laughs.  Written and directed by Luke Greenfield, Let’s Be Cops uses everything that worked in previous buddy cop movies in the hopes to provide a funny or interesting story,  the task is unfortunately executed unsuccessfully.  Almost every scene in the film was taken from another movie or TV show, so the material seems highly recycled.  It would be easy to overlook the forced plot and familiar devices if the movie was funny, but the laughs were few and far between.  Damon Wayans, Jr. and Jake Johnson star as two “likable” losers, who at the age of 30, are about to give up on their dreams of making it in L.A.

Ryan O’Malley (Jake Johnson) is a former star quarterback at Purdue University, who’s NFL dreams are squashed after an injury partying.  His friend and roommate Justin Miller (Damon Wayans, Jr.) is a struggling video game designer, attempting to get his game Patrolman LA made.  We meet these two at low points in their lives, as we see their normal routine of karaoke and drinking becoming stale.  They decide to go their costumed college reunion dressed as cops (they had the official uniforms Justin was using for his game design), and while the response is initially underwhelming, they all of a sudden get looked at by woman and repeated by the men.  Ryan begins to see the potential in this power, and persuades the hesitant Justin to accompany him in the adventures.


The main problem with the film is that they didn’t fully dive into the potential of the fun and comedic opportunities these two could have had pretending to be cops.  We get some quick montages of Ryan and Justin out on the town having fun, but the filmmakers forced unnatural plot arcs that severely hurt the potential of this dull comedy.  You have the love story arch, that conveniently plays into a mafia related arc, that feels completely unnecessary and unbelievable.  Instead of the predictable and cliché plot points, Let’s Be Cops should have had less structure which in turn would have made the film funnier.  It feels to by-the-numbers, where some spontaneity could have helped make the film feel like a comedy.


The two stars Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. are serviceable, and if they were given the proper outlets, could be funny.  Unfortunately, they are forced to go through the film hitting all the arcs forced by screenwriter who seemingly just read through a Syd Field screenwriting book for the “rules” of screenplay writing.  The film does provide a few laughs throughout, and supporting actor Rob Rickle helps the film, playing a much more understated character than we have become accustomed to seeing.  But the highlight of the movie is Keegan-Michael Key’s character, who provides laughs when they were needed most.

All-in-all Let’s Be Cops isn’t worth the price of admission.  It feels like a slightly lazier version of any of the hundreds of buddy cop movies that already exist.  There are a few laughs throughout, but they don’t outweigh the other 90 % of the film.  The stars do alright, they just aren’t given much to work with.  This is the type of movie that you won’t mind catching on HBO a couple months down the road, on one of those night you can’t sleep and catch it at 3:00 a.m.  I’m sure at that hour of the day, the film will seem much better than if you had payed $12 bucks to catch it Friday night.  Skip it and wait for the sequel Let’s Be Cops: Again.

Let’s Be Cops is written by Greenfield and Nicholas Thomas, with Luke Greenfield directing and starring Damon Wayans, Jr., Jake Johnson, Nina Dobrev, Rob Riggle, and Keegan-Michael Key.  Let’s Be Cops has a runtime of 104 minutes, and is now playing in theaters nationwide.

The Good

+ A few chuckles sprinkled throughout

The Bad

- Unoriginal

- Recycled and forced plot

- Laugh were few and far between


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