Oh, let’s not.
As generic as its name and way too long, any significant connection “Let’s Be Cops” has with its audience comes from the increasing sense of regret that this talented cast wasted its time — and ours.
The title is the elevator pitch. Two hapless losers dress up as cops, like the respect and sense of power they get, and decide to wear the uniforms some more so that they can order people around and get past the velvet rope at a nightclub. And impress a girl.
Highly likeable “New Girl” co-stars Damon Wayans, Jr. and Jack Johnson play Justin and Ryan, 30-year old Perdue alums and roommates who are reminded by a reunion party that they have not accomplished very much. Justin has a low-level job at a video game company and is too shy to get the attention of the boss for the new game he has developed, which is about a policeman. That’s why he has a couple of authentic uniforms on hand. Ryan is a sometime actor who — wait for it — is living off the residuals he got for a herpes medicine commercial. Oh, my sides!
The un-dynamic duo misunderstand the invitation to the reunion party and arrive in costume to find everyone else in business attire with masks. Why? No reason except an improbable basis for the even more improbable premise. They leave, embarrassed, but when people on the street believe they are real cops, they think it is a lot of fun. Justin is ready to walk away, but Ryan gets into character, watching YouTube videos to learn police lingo and skills. Pretty soon, Justin is impressing a pretty waitress (“Vampire Diaries'” Nina Dobrev) and Ryan is messing with some guys who crunched his car. It is obvious that these are very scary gangsters, but of course Ryan has no clue and Justin is having way too much fun engaging them in a law enforcement version of Simon Says to pay attention.
The rest of it plays out exactly the way you’d imagine, with the only bright spot Key & Peele’s Keegan-Michael Key hilarious appearance as a tattooed low-level driver for the bad guys, sort of the fake cops’ Huggy Bear. His too brief-appearance only reminds us of the comedic chaos this film is missing. The funny parts aren’t funny enough (Really? Wrestling a naked fat guy? Wasting Rob Riggle as a straight man? Being high on meth? Flirting with a drugged-out floozy?). The action parts aren’t exciting enough. The big surprise twist is neither big nor a surprise. Gene Siskel used to say that the movie should be better than watching the same actors talk over lunch. This one doesn’t come close.
Parents should know that this film has strong and crude language, sexual references and situations, male and female nudity, violence and peril with characters injured and killed, alcohol and drug use (marijuana and meth).
Family discussion: How did Justin and Ryan differ in their thinking about pretending to be policemen? How did their experiences change their ideas about what they were capable of?
If you like this, try: “The Other Guys” and “The Heat”