Tracy Morgan

Cop Out (2010, Kevin Smith)

It might be funny to kick Kevin Smith when he’s down–Cop Out, his first attempt at directing someone else’s script (after fifteen years of doing his own projects), bombed and then there was that whole thing with the airplane seating–but Cop Out‘s not his fault. Well, maybe Seann William Scott is Smith’s fault, but he makes up for him with Adam Brody and Kevin Pollak….

The two biggest problems with the film are the script and Tracy Morgan. The script’s unbearably stupid, like it’s intended to be a spoof of buddy cop movies and someone forgot to make it funny. Morgan’s playing a variation on his character from “30 Rock.” It’s never believable for a second he could hold a job (much less be a cop), have a friend (Willis comes off more like a babysitter) or a wife (I’m not sure if Rashida Jones is wasted in Cop Out or useless). During Morgan’s scenes, I kept wanting to slam my head against something, thinking a concussion might get me in the frame of mind to appreciate his performance.

But back to Brody and Pollak. The movie should have been about them. Smith’s trying to do some kind of a throwback to the eighties cop comedies, like Beverly Hills Cop–he even brings in Harold Faltermeyer to regurgitate his Fletch score. Brody’s young and eager and Pollak’s old and cynical. They banter, they have antics. It would have been great.

Instead, it’s not great. Instead, it’s completely insipid.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed and edited by Kevin Smith; written by Robb Cullen and Mark Cullen; director of photography, David Klein; music by Harold Faltermeyer; production designer, Michael Shaw; produced by Marc Platt, Polly Johnsen and Michael Tadross; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Bruce Willis (Jimmy), Tracy Morgan (Paul), Adam Brody (Barry Mangold), Kevin Pollak (Hunsaker), Ana de la Reguera (Gabriela), Guillermo Diaz (Poh Boy), Michelle Trachtenberg (Ava), Jason Lee (Roy), Francie Swift (Pam), Rashida Jones (Debbie) and Seann William Scott (Dave).


G-Force (2009, Hoyt Yeatman)

I’m not a fan of the popcorn movie argument–it’s the one where people tell you you’re just supposed to enjoy the movie and not think about it–Stephen Sommers uses it in his defense and so does, somewhat more interestingly, Cameron Crowe (I think he called it populist to prove he’d been to college). Except if you aren’t supposed to think about something, why is it there? Don’t put it there if you don’t want someone to ask about it.

There is nothing to think about in G-Force. Not a single thing. There are fart jokes and there are cute little animals running around. They’re secret agents. Or commandos. It’s never clear. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention when Zach Galifianakis was explaining them (he created them) to boss Will Arnett because Galifianakis’s performance is the worst thing I’ve ever seen (not really, but close–he’s not having any fun and if you’re not having fun in G-Force, why are you in it?).

So these smart, talking, spy guinea pigs have a huge James Bond adventure. It’s fantastic. There’s never a suggestion anyone should think about anything after it’s happened–I’m not even sure there’s anything the viewer has to remember later on in the running time. It’s all present.

All the voices are good (it’s probably Jon Favreau’s best performance), but Steve Buscemi’s the real standout. And Tracy Morgan, he’s great.

G-Force also has excellent special effects, but they aren’t the point. There is no point.

2/4★★

CREDITS

Directed by Hoyt Yeatman; screenplay by Cormac and Marianne Wibberley, based on a story by Yeatman; director of photography, Bojan Bazelli; edited by Jason Hellmann and Mark Goldblatt; music by Trevor Rabin; production designer, Deborah Evans; produced by Jerry Bruckheimer; released by Walt Disney Pictures.

Starring Sam Rockwell (Darwin), Penélope Cruz (Juarez), Tracy Morgan (Blaster), Nicolas Cage (Speckles), Jon Favreau (Hurley), Steve Buscemi (Bucky), Bill Nighy (Leonard Saber), Will Arnett (Kip Killian), Zach Galifianakis (Ben), Kelli Garner (Marcie), Tyler Patrick Jones (Connor), Piper Mackenzie Harris (Penny), Gabriel Casseus (Agent Trigstad), Jack Conley (Agent Carter), Niecy Nash (Rosalita) and Justin Mentell (Terrell).


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