What is so fun about Let's Be Cops is that what could be a one note comedy, manages to be so much more before the credits roll. Sure, Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. posing as cops and having too much fun doing it (and us watching them) is the base of this comic farce, but there are unexpected messages in Luke Greenfield’s film that make it surprisingly resonant.
Johnson and Wayans are roommates and longtime best friends. They moved to Los Angeles years ago hoping to make something of their lives. Now 30, they sit in a diner at the beginning of the film and wonder, “What happened?”
Wayans is kind of living the dream. He works at a video game company, but might as well be a fly on the wall because no one listens to his ideas and he could easily just be shuffling papers. Johnson, meanwhile, is not really doing much of anything. As seen in that hilarious Let’s Be Cops red band trailer, he did make a herpes medicine commercial. But he has truly achieved little else.
Going to a costume party one night, they decide to dress up as cops using pitch-perfect uniforms Wayans had for a presentation for his dream video game. Walking down the streets of LA, they immediately realize something: People believe they really are cops. And boy, do they (and the audience) have fun with the nature of seeing fake cops tackling real trouble.
Johnson and Wayans are a comedic dream team and the New Girl stars find a whole new level of funny on the big screen with Let’s Be Cops. Their chemistry in this flick was even seen from that first Let’s Be Cops trailer, and expanded to a 90-minute comedy, their joy together is our joy. That old adage about if actors are having fun, the audience does too is never more true than with Let’s Be Cops.
Things aren’t always fun and games. When they meet an actual policeman Rob Riggle (who is fantastic as always), they get drawn into a real criminal investigation involving Andy Garcia’s shady character. But, instead of going off the rails as some comedies tend to do at this point, it all gets rolled up into the giant humor meets message that is Greenfield’s film.
Sure, you’re thinking, what kinds of messages can a silly farce about something as serious as a couple of guys illegally impersonating police officers have? Well, how about the pervading theme of being true to oneself and following one's dreams with passion instead of just being a bystander in them?
And with Johnson and Wayans embodying their characters as they do, the summer is closing with a laugh and a smile. Our Let’s Be Cops review can report that humor that still inspires (even ever so slightly) always adds up to a solid time at the movies.
Check out Riggle in another cop comedy and watch 21 Jump Street online.