Possible spoilers ahead!
If you’re expecting another “22 Jump Street,” you’re out of luck. Hell, even if you’re expecting “Ride Along” you’re out of luck. “Let’s Be Cops” is about two 30-year-olds Ryan (Jake Johnson), a former college football star and mostly unemployed actor who spends his time playing in children’s football games, and Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.), a struggling video game designer. But “Let’s Be Cops” is also something else: A very disappointing movie.
Right from the start I couldn’t stand Jake Johnson’s character. He is clearly holding back Damon Wayans, but Wayans is too loyal a friend to say or do anything about it. The plot of the movie is flimsy:
After the pair don police uniforms to attend a masquerade party that they assume was a costume party, they find themselves the recipients of female attention and respect from everyone with whom they come into contact, including real cops. The pair soon engage in ridiculous hijinks that escalate when Ryan buys a used police car on eBay and outfits it with all the bells and whistles.
Justin is initially resistant to all of this, but he enthusiastically joins in after finally getting somewhere with Josie (Nina Dobrev), the drop dead gorgeous waitress he’s always had a crush on.
The two idiots eventually cross paths with a bunch of Russian mobsters headed by the insane Mossi (James D’Arcy). If you’re looking for Russian mob clichés, you’ll find plenty here. For example: He likes to fight, blackmail local businesses, and has a basement full of illegal weapons. Not that any of these is truly essential to the plot.
As we soon find out, Mossi has a thing for Josie too, and is none too pleased when he learns She’s dating Justin. This plot too is soon forgotten, and is only mentioned in the scene where Mossi and Justin first meet.
With the aid of Officer Seagars (a real cop played by Rob Riggle), they get embroiled in a dangerous investigation in which they’re way over their heads. Their lives are now in danger, and blah, blah, blah.
Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. definitely have genuine onscreen chemistry, but the jokes are so bad, most sequences end with Wayans displaying (classic Wayans family) pained expressions and Johnson devolving into unfunny childish behavior. It’s a shame really, because with better material, these two could have been very funny indeed.
The supporting cast isn’t much better, but its all due to the lame material. Andy Garcia barely makes an impression, and seems miscast in this type of movie. Nina Dobrev is gorgeous, but we never know anything about her character other than she’s an aspiring make up artist.
Hate to say it, but Nina Dobrev is basically there to look hot in a short black dress. And finally, Rob Riggle is the by-the-book policeman? Seriously, Rob freakin Riggle?
The sole exception in the supporting cast is Keegan-Michael Key, who was the only one to get some laughs from the audience as a wildly braided street informant. Too bad he wasn’t in the entire movie, the film would have been better that way.
Part of The end credits are accompanied by scenes that didn’t make into the final product. Strangely enough, some are funnier than anything we saw in the last 104 minutes.
“Let’s Be Cops” final score: 3