Comedies anymore are based on the central concept of the story. If the story isn’t funny, it can either be warped until absurdity and levity seep in or an actor can attempt to force the square peg into a round hole. This attempt doesn’t work for all scripts, but occasionally mediocrity can squeeze out a forgettable and harmless chuckle or two.
“Let’s Be Cops” is a film with such a literal title, a synopsis would be purely redundancy. Specifically, the film comes across a passive employee at a video game company named Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) and his unemployed shlub of a roommate Ryan (Jake Johnson). Ryan, content to play full contact football with young kids, is pumped for the upcoming college reunion. After convincing Justin to attend as well, Ryan and Justin go dressed in costume. Mistaking masquerade and costume party, the two arrive at the former dressed for the latter. Clad in authentic looking police uniforms, the two soon find that people are taking them serious as law enforcement. Rather than letting it go after one night. Ryan buys a cop car from eBay and convinces Justin to go on patrol. As things progress, the two become involved with a powerful criminal that put them in actual danger while pretending to serve and protect.
Films of this nature feel like a rated R version of the old TV movie-of-the-week. Starring two actors from sitcom “New Girl,” it feels both small in scope and shallow in depth. But this isn’t the type to feel big; this is a low budget comedy starring recognizable faces from the small-screen.
With the lackluster execution and the episodic elements of the story, it was surprising to learn that garbage producing CBS Films didn’t have a hand in this. Leads Wayans and Johnson appear effortless and enjoyable despite a script that feels like it was ripped from “Saturday Night Live.” But had the story been a bit more exciting and less one-note, the two would not have been able for it to reach its true potential. Another classic example of small comedy that has a promising trailer but can’t sustain a feature length film. 1.5 out of 5 stars.
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