Let’s Be Cops is the fourth feature film in fourteen years by director of The Girl Next Door, Luke Greenfield. Greenfield’s modus operandi typically blends suspense and comedy, providing the tropes of an action film with all of its twists and turns, intertwined with laugh out loud moments. Let’s Be Cops is no different, giving the audience a detective story with plenty of gunfire, explosions and mobsters, presented to us with some accessible character driven comedy moments. The film is almost a catharsis of explosions and laughter, but it all seems a little too much. Let’s Be Cops is caught in the middle of a serious detective story and a standalone comedy. The entire gag of them not actually being police officers is lost around half way through when the fact that they become officers in everything but law dawns on you. Occasionally the line of “we’re not actually cops” is mentioned to remind the audience this, but it does little to lure us away from this. Films such as Superbad (2007) and the recent success of The Inbetweeners 2 show us that truly successful comedy’s just need characters trying to get somewhere with small plot details happening along the way and throw away with the need for a huge story arc.
Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. play the principle roles of Ryan and Justin, respectively. The films sales are largely riding on the fact that the audience recognise these two from their breakout roles as Nick and Coach on American sitcom New Girl. After watching the first few scenes I don’t think anybody would have been surprised if the characters turned out to be called Nick and Coach, as they bring the same characters to this as they play in the TV series. But on reflection is that really a bad thing, the show is hugely successful and those are the characters that people like them for. Bringing them into this only guarantees that the characters will be liked, and most people are there to see them. In these early stages of Johnson’s and Wayans careers they can afford to be type cast to bring in the audience, as long as they begin to show other ranges, sooner rather than later.
Although not a perfect blend of action and comedy, Let’s Be Cops provided what it promised, “fake cops, real trouble”. The films pulls you along for an action packed ride with plenty of moments to laugh and also enough gunshots and violence. But everybody has seen the sequences before, the story of two bad cops solving a crime ring has been overdone in recent years. If you’re going in expecting any more than face value this film isn’t for you.