I'm always up for a new Kevin Smith film, because whatever lark he's tossing off, you can usually count on enjoying the sound of his Preston Sturges' meets' Ron Jeremy dialogue, a form of wordplay so scrappy and alive that it could never have come out of some Hollywood hack's corporate screenwriting software. In Cop Out, however, Smith has set himself a special challenge: The film is a barely satirical homage to the interracial buddy-cop flicks that flourished in the 1980s, and that means Smith is trying to mimic some of the most machine-tooled wise-guy banter in the history of cinema. I hoped he'd take the genre and run with it, injecting his own overripe, nearly scholastic flights of profane observation. Instead, working for the first time from a script he didn't write (it's by Marc and Robb Cullen), he mimics everything about movies like Running Scared and the Lethal Weapon series that's now best forgotten: the slovenly plots and obligatory jackhammer action (which Smith can't stage worth a lick), the fake-outrageous atmosphere of preening, strutting misbehavior.
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