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Buddy comedy not that funny ‘Let’s Be Cops’ finds few friends in critics clique

LOS ANGELES, Aug 16, (RTRS): “Let’s Be Cops” may be the summer’s next R-rated comedy hit -providing ticket buyers completely disregard the critics pumping it full of lead. The 20th Century Fox release starring Jake Johnson (“New Girl”) and Damon Wayans Jr. (“Happy Endings”) as two Los Angeles losers who pretend to be cops after dressing up for a party has been nearly universally panned in reviews summing it up as, simply, not that funny. Director Luke Greenfield’s comedy he co-wrote with screenwriter Nicholas Thomas has accumulated a 9 percent “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with only three out of 33 critics providing positive feedback. TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde was one of many who expected more laughs from what promised to be a ridiculous romp starring two male leads with proven chemistry from Fox TV comedy “New Girl.”

“It would be unfair to cite ‘Let’s Be Cops’ for being completely unfunny, but the movie at least deserves a warning for carrying so little actual humor over the course of its running time. A mild chuckle every five minutes or so doesn’t justify the predictable slog of this mistaken-identity farce,” Duralde wrote in his review. “With a combination of jokes that don’t land and a constant flurry of exposition and plotting to keep these flimsy plates spinning, ‘Let’s Be Cops’ more often than not feels more like a court-ordered defensive-driving class than a rousing high-speed chase.”

Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday referred to the comedy as a “fake buddy-cop flop” for similar reasons, mainly stemming from a problematic script. “‘Let’s Be Cops’ is the kind of movie that depends for laughs on tired bits involving kids swearing, and sustains the audience’s interest with frequent excuses to ogle shapely women dancing provocatively in bars, at parties or, in one unsavory instance, on her own skankily disheveled couch,” Hornaday wrote. “Johnson and Wayans are both gifted comic performers but are given way too little to do in a film that wends its way from set piece to set piece, not with antic glee but desultory and-then-this-happens randomness.” Toronto Star critic Bruce DeMara went as far as to call the movie “appalling,” hoping “the ill-conceived premise and a poorly written script takes a dive at the box office.”
“Let’s overlook the fact that the film’s distributors refused to offer an advance screening for movie critics. They know and we know that the film is going to be poorly reviewed,” DeMara wrote. “Finally, let’s earnestly hope there is no sequel.” New York Daily News critic Jordan Hoffman went as far as to decry the ending of the largely unfunny movie as actually “insulting.” “You have the right to remain silent and, for much of ‘Let’s be Cops,’ you will be,” Hoffman wrote. “This alleged comedy takes a long time before it gets its first laugh in. The first half is a complete slog and the ending is insulting, but there are a few semi-arresting sketch comedy moments.” Arizona Republic critic Bill Goodykoontz wrote: “Yay, stupid! That could be the motto of the people behind “Let’s Be Cops,” a ridiculous comedy whose greatest sin is one of omission: a lack of humor. And that’s a hard one to forgive.”

NEW YORK: Fox’s “Let’s Be Cops” continued a solid opening week, taking in $3.2 million at the box office.
The R-rated Jake Johnson-Damon Wayans, Jr comedy made $1.2 million in late Tuesday night screenings, and hit $5.2 million with last Wednesday receipts. The Thursday gains give the pic $8.4 million gross headed into the weekend. Overall, it looks to take in $25 million in its opening five-day frame, in 2,936 theaters in the US and Canada.  That would give Fox a solid late-summer hit made on a low budget by director Luke Greenfield. Elsewhere, the third “Expendables” film made $875,000 in late Thursday night showings, on 2,200 screens, which puts it on track thus far with the first two films in the geezer action franchise. The original made $870,000 in its opening evening, while the sequel earned $685,000. The first two pictures, however, screened only at midnight, giving this latest Sylvester Stallone-led adventure more time to earn a similar return.
It remains to be seen how the mass piracy of the film, which was leaked on various torrent sites, will impact its box office returns. The original film made $34 million in its opening weekend, en route to $103 domestic and $274 million worldwide. The sequel slumped to a $28 million opening and $85 million overall in the US, but $305 million worldwide. For those too young to see “The Expendables” but still want a taste of dystopia, “The Giver” is premiering from Walden and Weinstein in 3,003 theaters. The long-awaited adaptation of Lois Lowery’s classic YA book stars Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, and Brandon Thwaites. It made $750,000 on last Thursday night and is expected to make in the mid-teens.

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