A fun film that may not break any comedy boundaries or even feel that satisfying, but there’s pleasure to be had in watching the magnetic broship chemistry the two male leads have and seeing how that pairing manage the madness of their dilemma as it reaches more insane heights.
It’s a stupid idea for a film of course but with the dead end lives Ryan O’Malley (Jake Johnson) and Justin Miller (Damon Wayans Jr.) making them evaluate whether LA life is for them it’s a turn up for the books when their cop costume party gear attracts the good sort of attention, making them feel like heroes and stick with this police charade, until of course they stick their noses into business with some shady Russians and realise there’s more to being a man of the law than wearing a uniform and buying a car on eBay.
Luke Greenfield is on writing and directorial duties here but he never seems to hit a stride in either neck of the woods. There’s standard comedy in shots with situation leading the way for sticky problems for Ryan and Justin to face but it’s over the top buffoonish humour that’s been done to death and the style on offer here is of resemblance to the more stylish and sharp comedy in both Jump Streets. Even here the soundtrack used feels similar with nightclub tunes blaring out to try and lift the scene. The writing at times is okay but there’s never a great streak of classic brilliant comedy in dialogue, there’s patches at best. The squad car veering into darker gangland territory never feels spot on mixed with the comedy though it does make for a nice change of gear in the movie.
Unfortunately a lot of the funny material is witnessed in the trailers which doesn’t detract from the film, there’s just not much else that we haven’t already clapped our eyes on. The turnaround that the two guys have is firmly in the predictable camp and also extremely hard to swallow as we see the aftermath of their intrusion and playing heroes dealt with in the most movie manner possible and Ryan’s alteration in particular is so dumb, are we seriously meant to believe he’s ever truly good at police work all along?! The boy meets girl angle is also seriously overdone and this waitress/fake police relationship is hurried along. This film only feels as palatable as it does thanks to a more sinister turn than expected and a worrying journey into the underworld of dodgy figures and secret crates.
I liked the mirroring of Justin’s gaming idea with Ryan’s real life trouble as he tries escaping the numerous gang members, it was an expected thing to happen that both his game background and Josie the waitress’ (Nina Dobrev) skill would be brought into action but it’s done believably and nicely enough that it’s not gripe to me. The best quality of this film is the menacing glare of Andy Garcia and the frankly dazzling duo of Johnson and Wayans Jr. They have some evident fun playing around in this film even if we don’t have as much watching it. I only liked the film thanks to some funny back and forth between them and their comedy timing they get so right.
It truly is a two man show though Hill and Tatum have done it twice already and better too. Jake Johnson is as good as ever playing the screaming freak out part of the pair and he sells the more loser-ish aspect as he clings onto this new hobby even when Justin isn’t as up for continuing. It’s Nick Miller, no relation to Justin I’m guessing unless canon will come into the fold, hyped up to the max as he squirms and leaps through the story. Damon Wayans Jr. plays his ‘New Girl’ character too in the fact both Justin and Coach share confidence, dance abilities, comic facial expressions and the lack of brave steps with the girl they really like. In fact it feels like a ‘New Girl’ episode stretched out and losing Jess, Cece, Winston and Schmidt. Nina Dobrev only serves as an attractive co-star and a scripted tool to help the guys out with some undercover plan. Keegan-Michael Key plays an overly street Spaniard with some cringe accent and most of the time he and the two fake cops are together it’s never that funny.
Stretched, hit and miss and one without a sequel I hope. It’s not a film to kick down the genre or serve up a gilded plate of something fresh and exciting, we’re guided through much of the same and it’s only fine to watch thanks to the leading gentlemen involved.