NOVEMBER 11, 2014

How are people not familiar with Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. yet? Johnson has been the supporting player in several high profile comedies and broke through to most audiences with his unequivocal brand of humor as Nick on Fox’s “New Girl.” Wayans starred in the pilot for “New Girl” alongside Jake but ABC beat them to the punch with their canceled-too-soon comedy “Happy Endings.” With that cancelation, Wayans returned to “New Girl” where he and Jake continue to develop the personas that they have concocted. Now, they star side-by-side in the feature film “Let’s Be Cops,” where they seemingly take those same personas and bring them to the big screen.

Without these strong personalities, “Let’s Be Cops” would be just another fluff comedy. With a premise summed up by the title of the film, the ridiculousness that is involved with two grown men deciding to impersonate police officers and getting involved with some real crimes is almost too much to take. Pulling from the fish-out-of-water storyline in the most basic of ways, these characters are literally down the river without a paddle as dressing up as cops for Halloween turns into a full-time (and completely illegal) gig. But with Jake Johnson playing naive, lovable Ryan and Damon Wayans Jr. playing the wacky, need-to-please Justin, the comedic sequences take on a life of their own. Somehow Justin getting attacked by much-too-old sorority sisters and Ryan screaming in the background is undeniably hilarious. The writers are also not afraid to take the film to its R-Rated boundaries, which is exactly what sets this apart from other fluff comedies while still not delving into raunch.

Along with the pair, Rob Riggle reprises his police officer role from “The Hangover.” Playing Segars, one of the actual cops, he eventually gets drawn into the antics of Ryan and Justin, who stumble upon a conspiracy between a local gang boss and the actual police department. Andy Garcia also stars as the police chief, the one character in the film that could make life extremely difficult for the leading men. The real conflict, however, comes from Justin wanting to put away the fake uniforms and the struggle that ensues with Ryan. The story also reaches a serious tip, with Ryan’s desire to prove his worth after falling short as an actor. Any other comedic faces could have easily fallen into campy humor, losing the sentiment completely, but Johnson never loses the character traits that ground him in reality.

Unfortunately for the talent involved, when push comes to shove, most of the jokes throughout the film are hit or miss, with a majority of them misses. But what pushes this into favorable territory is that the jokes that do land are hilarious. Several moments are so funny, I missed parts of the film from laughing so hard. If you do not yet know who Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. are, then “Let’s Be Cops” is the perfect place to start. With their lucrative partnership stepping off, their eventual rise could end up similar to Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum and their ever-popular
“Jump Street” films.

August 13, 2014

Luke Greenfield

Luke Greenfield
Nicholas Thomas

20th Century Fox

(for language including sexual references, some graphic nudity, violence and drug use)


104 minutes

Daryn Okada

Christophe Beck
Jake Monaco

Bill Pankow
Jonathan Schwartz

Damon Wayans, Jr.
Jake Johnson
Rob Riggle
Nina Dobrev
James D’Arcy
Andy García
Natasha Leggero
Keegan-Michael Key

Luke Greenfield
Simon Kinberg

$17 million

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