The Hunger Games return with such a sequel twist that you can't believe writer Suzanne Collins didn't think of film when writing. Catching Fire builds up with all types of subversive messaging which is interesting but also brings into relief the limitations of the genre and film.
Kevin Smith's latest film, Cop Out is a satirical look at cop movies.
The movie was originally titled "A Couple of Dicks" and then "A Couple of Cops". When director Kevin Smith found out the studio was going to call it "A Couple of Cops" so they could run the trailer behind Sherlock Holmes he told a producer, "God that title is going to feel like such a fucking cop out." The producer replied, "We should just call the movie that."
Detectives James "Jimmy" Monroe ( Bruce Willis) and Paul Hodges ( Tracy Morgan) have been together for nine years as partners. When an arrest leads them on the trail of major drug dealer, they fail to capture the suspect Juan Diaz ( Cory Fernandez) and create a disaster-filled pursuit. Monroe and Hodges are read the riot act by their boss and suspended without pay for a month. Jimmy is dismayed at this since he was planning on using the money to pay for his daughter Ava's ( Michelle Trachtenberg) wedding. Jimmy wants to make sure he pays for it and not his wife's slimy new husband Roy ( Jason Lee). Elsewhere, Paul finds clues that lead him to suspect his wife Debbie ( Rashida Jones) is cheating on him with the next door neighbor Henry.
The drug dealer Poh Boy ( Guillermo Diaz) is the boss of Juan Diaz. He has been waiting for a BMW car, but it got stolen while on the way to be delivered to Poh Boy. He wants the car back because it holds something vital that he needs.
With little options, Jimmy decides he has to sell his prized possession he inherited from his father, a 1952 Andy Pafko baseball card. While trying to sell it at a local hobby shop, the business is robbed by Dave (Sean William Scott), who takes the card as well. Though questioned by fellow Detectives Hunsaker and Mangold ( Kevin Pollak and Adam Brody), whom they despises, Jimmy and Paul track Dave down to a house he plans to rob. They are able to take him into custody and, after some persuading through physical violence, Dave reveals he sold the card for drugs from Poh Boy.
Jimmy and Paul go to Poh Boy's home and see that he is an avid baseball collector. Poh Boy hypothesizes that if he does have the baseball card, he might be willing to turn it over if the cops do their job and find his car. Still leery of the cops, Poh Boy sends Juan to tail them. The detectives use information from a source of Paul's that leads them to a lawyer ( Fred Armisen) who bought the car. Jimmy and Paul do some acting and are able to retrieve the car, but as they are getting away, Juan starts to chase them in his own car. The resulting chase leads to Juan's death. Jimmy and Paul open the trunk of the car to find out that there is a woman, Gabriela, in it. Through an interpreter, Gabriela reveals that she's the mistress of a murdered drug lord and was kidnapped by Poh Boy's gang. She possesses a flash drive that includes information Poh Boy needs in order to expand his empire. She flees the two since she does not want to put them in jeopardy.
During this time, Paul had put a camera in his bedroom at home trying to catch his wife being unfaithful. At first, both Paul and Jimmy believe the tape does show her about to have sex with a man, but as Paul watches it further, he realizes she was playing him. She wasn't cheating on him. Also, Detectives Hunsaker and Mangold had started to put some of the pieces together, thanks in part to Paul's stolen gun that was on Juan's body. They decide to go to Poh Boy's house to confront the gang boss.
At the same time, Paul and Jimmy have paid the bail for Dave in order to use him to get into Poh Boy's house to retrieve the baseball card while the gang is at the funeral. However, Dave slips, falls, and apparently breaks his neck. With little choice, Jimmy enters the house himself. Poh Boy receives a phone call on the way home from the funeral that Gabriela had been found and he takes her back to his house. Jimmy, who is in the house still, gets Paul to get most of the gang members out of the house. This is the time that Detectives Hunsaker and Mangold show up. The ensuing gun fighting scene in the house nets the desired outcome: Poh Boy is dead, Gabriela is safe, but the baseball card was unfortunately destroy by a bullet from Paul's gun.
Without the means to pay for his daughters wedding, Jimmy had to relent to let Roy pay for the whole thing. Jimmy's ex-wife adds insult to injury when she tells him she wishes both he and Roy would give Ava away during the ceremony. When the assigned time comes, though, Paul pulls a gun on the sly into Roy's back, making sure he doesn't rise to give her away as well.
Reception and Box Office
The movie was reviewed very poorly across the board. Rotten Tomatoes has it currently at a 19% "rotten" rating, calling it "a cliched buddy action/comedy that suffers from stale gags and slack pacing."
A few review blurbs:
"Smith certainly does his thing here, delivering a film that's part celebration and part parody of the well-worn genre." - Tom Long, Detriot News
"An unholy mess." - Richard Roeper
"Cop Out does not amount to much more than a blooper reel in search of a movie." - A.O. Scott, New York Times
"It's the first gross-out comedy to come along since The Hangover that is actually a comedy and not just gross, although make no mistake, gross it is -- this is a Kevin Smith film after all -- so don't say you weren't warned." - Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
The movie was made on an estimated $30 million dollars and made its money back. It did around $45 million domestically and $11 million in the foreign market for a worldwide gross around $55 million. It's highest rank in theaters was #2 in it's first week with $18.2 million, beaten by Shutter Island ($75 million) and narrowly beating The Crazies ($16 million).
Despite the bad reviews, this movie still is director Kevin Smith's most profitable film to date.