Because the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the name Kevin Smith is “talented director,” Warner Brothers has decided to let Silent Bob helm his first big studio picture. Mr. Smith will get behind the camera for A Couple of Cops (more on this title in a moment), a buddy comedy starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan as a pair of police officers who have to track down a stolen baseball card and rescue a damsel in distress all while being chased by a bunch of gangsters. (Any similarities to the Tracy Jordan comedy Black Cop/White Cop is purely coincidental.) A Couple of Cops is noteworthy because it is the first film Mr. Smith will direct that he didn’t also have a hand in writing; this script was penned by Las Vegas co-writers Robb and Mark Cullen, and appeared on the 2008 Black List as one of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood.
At the risk of joining the cacophony of haters already loosening up their vocal chords, we’ll say it: this movie could not sound worse. Seriously. Even if this were still the 1980s the premise would be considered overly generic. And while we’d probably see Mr. Morgan do anything, Mr. Willis has a bizarre track record with comedies. The man is undeniably funny, always livening up dramas or action spectacles with a sharp line reading (see Die Hard, Pulp Fiction), but when he’s actually asked to actually do comedy, he tries too hard and invariably fails (see The Whole Nine Yards, The Story of Us). The thought of Mr. Willis hamming his way through A Couple of Cops is already giving us the icks. And about that title: when rumors of this story were originally reported earlier in the week, the film was called A Couple of Dicks (get it?), but in the trades this morning it had already been changed to A Couple of Cops. We guess at least now Mr. Smith doesn’t have to worry about any problems when the DVD appearing on the shelves of Walmart.
All that aside, the biggest issue with A Couple of Cops is Mr. Smith himself. While we won’t deny his talents as a writer (though we’re tempted to), Mr. Smith is just not a good director. Some critics praised the look of Zack and Miri Make a Porno as a step forward in his craft, but maybe that was just because everything was framed properly and no boom mics were visible. And don’t even get us started on his prowess, or lack thereof, with actors; we doubt you’ve ever walked out of a Kevin Smith movie championing how good a performance was. Put it all together and the idea of Mr. Smith handling a moderately budgeted studio picture for Warner Brothers becomes almost laughable. And we thought hiring Zack Snyder for Watchmen was a bad idea…
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