Monday, April 11, 2011

Ten Statements About....COP-OUT (2010)

Who put Tracey Morgan in my Bruce Willis movie?
1) There is something decidedly strange about a film you know is written by Kevin Smith where the dialogue doesn't sound at all like Kevin Smith's. It's only when Walter Flanagan or Jason Lee suddenly pop up out of nowhere are we reminded whose world we're in.

2) Bruce Willis has spent so much time in the action/adventure mines that we've forgotten how gifted and fun he is as a comedic actor.

3) I was somewhat surprised, given his prominence in the trailers, how small Sean William Scott's role is. He does make the most of it, but his fate at the beginning of the climax fooled no one. However, the payoff to that fate isn't the payoff I expected.

4) This is a film that has its heart firmly placed in a specific time and genre, namely the 80's action-based cop thriller full of lots of shiny, bright set pieces and sexiness (but no actual sex) and not a lot in the way of plot. Films like this have to rise or fall on the charisma of their leads and while Morgan can wear on you, Willis keeps the story moving forward.

5) I really am not sure how I feel about the Chinese Box-like nature of the MacGuffin...first it's a car, then it's what's in the car, then it's what's in the car has concealed on it. Yeah, it's just a fulcrum to keep the plot and the thrills going, but it does get muddled at points.

6) Another thing that gets muddled involves the minor character arc set out by Tracey Morgan's Paul...if you're going to resolve the situation with Paul suspecting his wife of cheating on him the way you do, why tease the possibility of a romance with another character?

7) The thing I liked the most about main baddie Poh Boy, played by Guillermo Diaz, is the way the script makes it clear that baseball is a true passion of his. A lesser screenwriter would use his baseball fetish (and both the 'Diamond Vault' and the batting cage that acts as a set-piece) as just a quirk....Robb and Mark Cullen make it an integral part of his personality, giving him a touch of the supervillain about him.

8) Seeing Kevin Pollack in an integral role--and actually playing a pretty decent investigator, who antagonizes our heroes without being a dick about it--is as shocking as seeing Michelle Trachtenberg in an extremely minor one.

9) This is a movie that's unapologetically Brooklyn--its first shot is accompanied by The Beastie Boy's "(No Sleep 'Til) Brooklyn"--without having anything in the background that's recognizably Brooklyn. And I don't know what to make of that.

10) I really liked the idea that Willis' Jimmy doesn't fulfill his goal, but manages to get some satisfaction anyway. It's that kind of bittersweet triumph I always liked seeing in action flicks from the 70's.

In short...I'm still not sure how much I liked it. This isn't like Inside Man, which was still Spike Lee through and through despite being a work-for-hire piece. It doesn't feel like a Kevin Smith film, which results in something, well, entertaining but generic.

Unfortunately, I was stuck with the same batch of trailers I've been suffering through since December--I'm sorry, but I ain't seeing Death At A Funeral no matter how many times you try to convince me that gay midget sex is funny, and the same goes for that awful film that tries to introduce 'moodle' into the common parlance, She's Out Of My League. I gotta admit, though, that I found the trailer for The Losers engaging, even if I thought the way it emphasized the shot of Zoe Saldana shooting a rocket launcher, well, embarrassing.

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