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Cop Out (Blu-ray Review)

6 Aug, 2010 By: John Latchem

Box Office $44.9 million
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for pervasive language including sexual references, violence and brief sexuality.
Stars Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Sean William Scott.

Watching Cop Out doesn’t feel like watching a movie. Sure, it has a plot, established characters, some interesting dialogue and snippets of action, but it mostly feels like an excuse for some Kevin Smith silliness. It’s almost as if the movie works best as a set-up for the Blu-ray’s “Maximum Comedy Mode,” which sets new boundaries for what a picture-in-picture track can accomplish.

At nearly three hours, the MCM is more than an hour longer than the movie itself, as Smith walks on to discuss the production and introduce deleted scenes and alternate takes. It’s basically a film class taught by Smith and using Cop Out as an example. If I didn’t know better I’d think he made the movie just for the MCM, and not the other way around.

The film itself is something of a fun throwback to 1980s cop buddy movies such as 48 Hours and Stakeout. Smith even brought in Harold Faltermeyer (Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop) to compose the music. In the face of such homage the plot is relatively insignificant, but involves Bruce Willis as a Brooklyn cop searching for a stolen baseball card that can be used to pay for his daughter’s wedding, pitting him and his partner (Tracy Morgan, saddled with a subplot in which he pines over his wife’s potential infidelity) against a Mexican drug gang.

The fact that Cop Out is the first film directed by Smith that he didn’t write himself (Mark and Robb Cullen handled the screenplay) seems to have altered his filmmaking philosophy a bit. In commentaries for his previous film, Smith and his co-stars noted his intolerance for ad-libbing and deviation from his scripts. Cop Out has freed him from this constraint, as he shows off several alternate takes constructed from improv.

Occasionally Smith will start bloviating on one particular topic or another, causing a second Kevin Smith to appear to discuss something more interesting. There are also pop-up words of wisdom from Seann William Scott, who plays a thief in the movie. Kevin Smith fans who may not have been wholly thrilled by Cop Out in theaters should pick up the Blu-ray just for the MCM.

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