Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans Jr) are disillusioned with their less than glamorous lives in LA, and are considering moving back to Ohio, when they decide to attend a costume party. Their costumes are police officers, and while the party does not go well, the two lads are mistaken for real cops on their walk home. It is not long before Ryan has taken the idea that the two men can pass as cops to a whole new level, and the two find themselves embroiled in a real life web of mobsters and dirty cops.
Although Let’s Be Cops was probably in the works for a while, with the casting of Wayans Jr and Johnson, it seems as though the filmmakers wanted to get the stars of New Girl onto the big screen, and try to recreate some TV magic. The casting of The Vampire Diaries’ Nina Dobrev seems to underline this.
Wayans Jr plays the straight laced half of the central buddy duo; making Justin as screechy, jumpy and over the top as the characters he has played in both new Girl and the sadly cancelled Happy Endings. Wayans Jr does his job well enough, but this is nothing we haven’t seen from him before. The same goes for Johnson, who plays the dumb friend well, but doesn’t seem to feel the need to stretch himself. Nina Dobrev turns up as the love interest/damsel in distress, Andy Garcia returns to the big screen as a cop with suspicious morals and James D’Arcy undoes any good he did with Cloud Atlas, as the ridiculous and paper thin villain.
The story is one we have seen a million times before; friends get in over their heads and need to find a way out. We have even seen this before in cop movies, such as The Heat, Training Day – which is self-consciously mentioned in Let’s Be Cops – Ride Along and End of Watch. Writer/director Luke Greenfield has made a career out of making movies that try to be original, but end up being completely unfunny, and Let’s Be Cops is no exception. The script tries hard to be funny, but much of the time the ‘jokes’ are so clichéd that they feel overly familiar, the characters are irritating and the women come off as useless or sex objects. Ugh.
In all, Let’s Be Cops is a film that should work on paper, but as the situation becomes increasingly more ridiculous, sympathy for the characters goes out of the window. As well as this, the film is filled with clichés and tries far too hard to be funny. Let’s Be Cops? Let’s not.