Movie review: No laughs in criminally bad ‘Let’s Be Cops’
Published: August 14, 2014 09:50AM
Updated: August 16, 2014 04:40PM
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Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. play guys who dress up as policemen for a costume party, and find themselves taken for the real thing, in the action comedy "Let's Be Cops," opening nationwide on Aug. 13. Courtesy 20th Century Fox

There’s a funny, edgy idea rattling around in “Let’s Be Cops,” but the poor thing dies of neglect in a humorless script and weak execution.

Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr., co-stars on Fox’s “New Girl,” play Ryan and Justin, loser roommates in Los Angeles. Ryan’s an unemployed former college quarterback, Justin a milquetoast video-game designer who can’t pitch his police-based first-person shooter.

The pair put on some authentic LAPD uniforms for a costume party and discover when they’re on the street that they can pass for the real thing. Ryan gets jacked about pretending to be a cop, and Justin’s initial objections fade when he discovers it’s a turn-on to Josie (“The Vampire Diaries’ ” Nina Dobrev), a waitress he’s been crushing on. Things get real — or as real as things can get in this lackluster script by Nicholas Thomas and the film’s director, Luke Greenfield — when the fake cops tangle with a real crime boss (James D’Arcy) and his thugs.

Jokes are mostly absent, and what few exist dive into the deep end of the bad-taste pool. Johnson and Wayans, whatever comic chemistry they have on TV, are hard-pressed to fill the void.

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H

‘Let’s Be Cops’

Now open at theaters everywhere; rated R for language including sexual references, some graphic nudity, violence and drug use; 104 minutes.