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Two NYPD detectives - no-nonsense veteran Jimmy Monroe and his wacky sidekick Paul Hodges - are on the trail of merciless, memorabilia-obsessed Mexican gangster Poh Boy. Meanwhile both are beset by problems in their personal lives: Jimmy must unearth the rare, mint-condition baseball card that is his only hope of footing the bill for his daughter's upcoming wedding, while Paul has become so suspicious of his wife's infidelity that he has hidden a CCTV camera inside a teddy bear in their bedroom.
For more about Cop Out and the Cop Out Blu-ray release, see Cop Out Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on July 17, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Adam Brody, Kevin Pollak, Seann William Scott, Jason Lee
Director: Kevin Smith (I)
» See full cast & crew
Cop Out Blu-ray Review
Bumpy as it may be, I enjoyed the ride...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, July 17, 2010
Cards on the table: I am an unapologetic Kevin Smith apologist. Chasing Amy remains one of the sharpest romantic comedies on my shelves, not to mention one of the few rom-coms I've revisited again and again over the years. Clerks II left me mumbling words like "poignant" and "hysterical." And Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back nailed parody and satire in one fell swoop. Even the profane poet's so-called lesser works continue to earn my affection. Be it nostalgia or delirium, Mallrats still makes me laugh. Despite some clunky plotting and pacing, Dogma delivers a slew of memorable scenes. And Jersey Girl -- cynical critics and cold-hearted audiences be damned -- makes me go a big rubbery one without fail. Which brings us to Cop Out, the first of Smith's films the foul-mouthed filmmaker didn't write himself. Working alongside screenwriters Robb and Mark Cullen, and relying on his actors' improvisational skills (before now, a red-card offense on a Kevin Smith set), the director lets loose. As a film, Cop Out has problems. I'm not even going to try to deny that. But as a slick, self-aware meta-homage to buddy-cop genre gems and Warner Vault classics, the laughs hit hard and often.
Cop Out isn't a complex flick by any means. Robbed while attempting to sell an $80,000 1952 Andy Pafko baseball card -- a card he hoped would pay for his beloved daughter's wedding -- NYPD officer Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) sets out to find the perp (Sean William Scott). His longtime partner, Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan), jumps at the opportunity to help his distraught papa-bear, and tags along for the impromptu investigation. But when it turns out the thief passed it up the chain to a drug dealer named Poh Boy (Guillermo Díaz), Jimmy and Paul have to make a deal with the street-level devil. Shifting focus, they begin searching for a stolen car; the only thing Poh Boy is willing to trade for Jimmy's baseball card. What follows? The pair face stiff competition from rival detectives (Adam Brody and Kevin Pollak, whose scenes are surprisingly bland), rescue a battered woman named Gabriella (Ana de la Reguera), seek help from the thief who first stole Jimmy's card, and deal with Paul's fear that his wife (Rashida Jones) is being unfaithful.
Let's get what doesn't work out of the way. Had Smith shaved fifteen minutes of material off his final cut, Cop Out would have been a leaner, meaner, funnier comedy. The Cullen Brothers' story is secondary to the genre-referencing hilarity that ensues, yet Smith dutifully pours on the subplots, burdening a rather shallow narrative with copious exposition and redundancies. The unnecessary bits never derail the entire film, but pacing takes a serious hit. Then there's Diaz's nine-inning baddie, Guillermo. While the resident Weeds dealer does a fine job with the all-too-familiar villain Smith and the Cullens hand him, it seems a character with more buddy-cop flair would have better suited the filmmakers' boundless homage. Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hours... all the greats pit their streetwise heroes' against over-the-top psychopaths, dirty cops, or uber-wealthy businessmen. But a back-alley drug thug? Meh. Seems too small for a Riggs-n-Murtaugh duo like Paul and Jimmy. And the rapidfire jokes and gags? As is the case with most comedies, some bits burrow into the brain and launch an assault on the senses, others elicit a respectable chuckle, and still others fall on their face. Granted, any limp exchange or dull one-liner ultimately traces back to Smith's editing choices, but scattershot laughs are a typical consequence of improvisational shoots.
Even so, fans of Smith's pop-culture intellectualism and gutter-humping comedy won't bat an eye. "Entertainment Weekly" recently billed Cop Out as a "lame rip-off of other buddy-cop flicks," but when was the last time you watched a buddy-cop comedy about two police officers who've been partners for nine years? Or for that matter, two detectives who genuinely enjoy each other's company, laugh at each other's jokes, and... well, share a healthy friendship from beginning to end? Smith never bothers to square Paul and Jimmy against each other -- even when Hunsaker grills one about the other, the bonds of brotherhood run thick -- and doesn't waste time crafting a forced partnership or a reluctant friendship. In fact, it's the prickly bromance Paul and Jimmy share that allows many of the film's jokes to strike a chord. Moreover, Smith and his cast point to so many classics, pay such obvious tribute to so many movies, and lift quotes from so many recognizable sources that anyone who uses the term "rip-off" simply didn't get the memo. Though not as refined or, frankly, ingenious as Edgar Wright's Hot Fuzz, the two share the same DNA; the same adoration of their genre forefathers. Smith walks a tight line between homage and parody, yet rarely tips so far in either direction that Cop Out suffers.
And let's not forget Willis and Morgan, both of whom conjure up comic gold. The movie-quote interrogation-room sequence teased in the trailers is a full-blown, full-throttle, five-minute laugh riot; their run-ins with Scott's scene-stealing, parkour-practiced Shit Bandit had me in tears; Willis's self-effacing straight-man routine is pitch perfect; and Morgan's dimwit-with-a-heart Tracy Jordan-schtick kept me grinning from the title card to the credits. I could go on, but I won't spoil the fun. Is Cop Out perfect? Nope. By his own repeated admissions, Smith was determined to let go and let the genre-gods, and he does just that. Is it going to win everyone over? Definitely not. Smith fans will cheer, Smith-haters will check out without giving it a fair shake (even though it doesn't feel like the director's View Askew productions at all), and newcomers will be split down the middle. (Proving comedy is utterly relative: it's Smith's worst-rated film on Rotten Tomatoes.) Me? I had a blast with it. I even enjoyed it a tad more than -- gasp -- The Hangover. You? You'll never know unless you give it a try.
Cop Out Blu-ray, Video Quality
No matter what you think of the film itself, the Blu-ray edition of Cop Out isn't a showcase piece. Arriving with a hit-or-miss 1080p/VC-1 transfer, Smith's genre throwback looks great one minute, and shoddy the next. Noise is the chief culprit. Blockier than grain (which also mingles in the mix), and more pervasive than compression artifacts (which pop up on occasion), the medley of faint, fluctuating anomalies that permeate the presentation disrupt nighttime sequences and even haunt a number of properly lit shots. It doesn't amount to a deal-breaker -- at least not on its own -- but it is an intermittent distraction. More distressingly, contrast takes a dive anytime the moon rises. Black levels aren't always as deep as one might hope, delineation is merely adequate, crush takes pot shots at many a background, and ringing is a frequent (but minor) offender. It's also tough to tell which issues should be attributed to Smith's production and which point to a lackluster transfer. Thankfully, it isn't a complete bust. Detail is fairly strong throughout, and the vast majority of the film features well-defined edges and commendable textures (despite some prevailing softness). Likewise, director of photography David Klein's Brooklyn palette offers a satisfying string of chilly hues, warm interiors, lifelike skintones, and bold splashes of primary power, all of which help salvage the presentation. A solid rendering of a problematic source at best, a middling encode at worst, Cop Out does little to impress.
Cop Out Blu-ray, Audio Quality
While it isn't hindered by any glaring technical issues, Cop Out's sufficient DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track isn't going to turn many heads. But this time, the film's original sound design seems to be the sole culprit. Sound effects meander into the rear speakers when action erupts on screen, but for the most part, Smith's first major-studio gig delivers a front-heavy comedy mix with few frills. Dialogue is clean, clear and intelligible, and the LFE channel sinks its teeth into Smith's bass-heavy soundtrack and lively shootouts, but little else immerses listeners in Paul and Jimmy's world. (Well, aside from Beverly Hills Cop composer Harold Faltermeyer's pinpoint genre music and its full, aggressive presence in the mix.) Directionality is decent but rather uninvolving, ambience is passable but unduly passive, and dynamics throw some sizable jabs, but rarely deliver any devastating haymakers. More to the point, the soundfield deflates so often that the experience occasionally becomes somewhat flat. Even so, Cop Out is as chatty as any Smith production, so the fact that every conversation takes such precedence is entirely reasonable. Ultimately, Cop Out's AV presentation isn't going to move many discs. Base your decision on the film alone, and ignore its audio/video shortcomings.
Cop Out Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Kevin Smith is the sort of filmmaker Warner's Maximum Movie Mode was designed for. Swooping into view atop the Warner Brothers logo in his Sunday best (shorts, an Oilers jersey and a trenchcoat), Smith helms a three-hour, hyperkinetic "Maximum Comedy Mode" comprised of playful Picture-in-Picture walk-ons, stretches of audio and video commentary, more than an hour of deleted scenes and outtakes, additional behind-the-scenes footage, wisdom from the Shit Bandit, pop-up production factoids (peppered with jokes), storyboards, and plenty of solid laughs. Pausing the film at will, Smith eagerly dissects Cop Out and its subtle and not-so-subtle genre references, sharing countless anecdotes and insights along the way. He takes shots at his own work, clears up any confusion about the sort of film he was attempting to make, details the on-set atmosphere, and doesn't allow any easter egg to go unnoticed. A red police-siren icon also appears near the bottom corner of the screen anytime a previously deleted scene has been reinserted into the film -- a so-simple-it's-brilliant way of identifying shots and sequences that don't appear in the theatrical cut -- and a blue icon appears anytime users are about to be treated to raw dailies and outtakes. My only two complaints? The extended cut of the film can only be viewed by engaging the Maximum Movie Mode, and the deleted scenes and outtakes aren't accessible from the main menu. Regardless, Smith's "Maximum Comedy Mode" is fantastic, and undoubtedly one of Warner's best, most inventive Picture-in-Picture show-stoppers to date.
Want more? Nine "Focus Point" featurettes (HD, 21 minutes) can be viewed within the Maximum Movie Mode experience (by pressing "enter" when prompted) or from the main menu. Segments include "A Couple of Dicks," "The New Buddy Cop Duo," "Kevin Pollak - Man of a Thousand Voices and Interests," "Improvising - Now That's Funny," "Poh Boy's Diamond Vault," "Stunts-Brooklyn Style," "Tracy Morgan Speaks Spanglish," "Dave's Calling Card," and "Kevin Smith Directs." The individual Shit Bandit wisdom shorts (HD, 4 minutes) are also available from the main menu, and feature "Dave's Advice for Future Generations", "Dave's Thoughts on Fate," "Dave Supports the Arts," "Dave Takes a Stand for Women's Rights," "Dave on Violence," "Dave is Deep About Food," "Dave on Privacy," "Dave's Thoughts on Friendship," "Dave Doesn't Fear the Light," and "Dave's Thoughts on the Environment." The only thing missing? Cast and crew commentaries (Smith's releases usually have two or three.)
Cop Out Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Cop Out, like so many R-rated comedies, will leave plenty of people laughing and plenty more shaking their heads. Kevin Smith's devoted fold are far more likely to dig what he's peddling than are his rabid detractors, while those without a stake in the ongoing artist/hack debate will fall here, there and everywhere in between. Thank God for Netflix. Sadly, the film's Blu-ray release isn't a sure bet either. Supplemental junkies and Smith fans will be thrilled with its Picture-in-Picture track -- one of Warner's finest Maximum Movie Modes to date -- but they'll be less ecstatic when it comes to its inconsistent video transfer and somewhat underwhelming DTS-HD Master Audio track. I'd suggest a rental.
Cop Out: Other Editions
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Cop Out Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Kevin Smith Maximized for Cop Out Blu-ray - July 8, 2010
During a recent roundtable interview, Kevin Smith spoke about the upcoming Blu-ray release of Cop Out (street date July 20) and especially about Warner Bros' Maximum Movie Mode (redubbed Maximum Comedy Mode for this title). The MCM features trivia, outtakes, interviews ...
• Cop Out Announced on Blu-ray - May 13, 2010
Warner Home Video has announced Cop Out: Rock Out with Your Glock Out Edition for release on Blu-ray on July 20 in a BD/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack. This buddy movie, starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan, was the first film that Kevin Smith directed but did not ...
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