As generic as its title, this drearily predictable and tushie-obsessed buddy cop movie has just one distinction — it wastes more talent in less time than we get to see very often outside of straight-to-video releases.
We’ve seen everything here so, so, many times before and done so much better. Take one tough, break-the-rules loner ATF agent whose partner has just been killed by the bad guys (though Internal Affairs is not persuaded that he is entirely innocent). That would be Samuel L. Jackson as Van. Take one mild-mannered family man with eyebrows like caterpillers who is in town for dental supply salesmen’s conference who gets mixed up with those very same bad guys so that Van needs his cooperation. That would be Eugene Levy as Alex. There’s a long-suffering supervisor (an uncharacteristically subdued Susie Essman of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and a bad guy with an accent. Hilarity is intended to ensue. It doesn’t. Even the action scenes are dull.
This would just be another mindless time-waster without a single memorable or original idea if not for its cluelessness about how exceptionally crude and ugly its humor is. The director, the screenwriter, and the stars seem to have no idea how un-funny its “jokes” about toilet functions, prison rape, who is whose b-word, and body cavity searches are. Let’s make that potty humor even funnier by putting nuns in the scene so we can see them making funny faces about the smell!
And then it has the nerve to try to go for the cockles of our hearts with a detour into whether Van will make it to his adorable little daughter’s ballet recital. Please.
Buddy cop movies are often better than this. Jackson and Levy are almost always better than this. Go see one of those movies instead.
Parents should know that the language in this movie is strong for a PG-13, with several uses of the f-word and humorous references to one man as another’s b-word as well as other strong and crude words. There is also a great deal of crude humor including prolonged scatalogical situations and jokes about prison rape and a body cavity search. And there is a lot of violence, some played for humor, including repeated abuse of an informant and characters getting beaten and shot. Characters are in peril and some are injured or killed. A strength of the movie is the portrayal of strong and dedicated work relationships between men and women of different races.
Families who see this movie should talk about what Alex and Van learned from each other. What most surprised them about each other? Families may also want to talk about the different approaches of the two men to trust and Alex’s expectation that all relationships will end in friendship. Why does Alex say, “I couldn’t live my life like that?”
Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the vastly superior Midnight Run and Die Hard: With a Vengeance (also with Jackson).