I suppose it was only a matter of time Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. should make a movie together, given their comedic chemistry on the hit TV series New Girl. Yeah, they’re that funny. Actually, the whole show is pretty outrageous. But I digress…
This movie, a cookie-cutter, by-the-numbers, buddy-buddy romp, starts with two best buds: Ryan O’Malley (Johnson), a gung-ho, ex-football player whose career was cut short because of an injury and lives off the residuals from a genital herpes TV commercial, and Justin Miller (Wayans, jr), a meek computer games designer whose idea for a new cop game, “L.A. Patrolman”, has just been denied for being boring.
When they’re invited to a party they think is a costume ball, they dress up like L.A. cops. Embarrassed at the party they walk home, but find that impersonating officers offers them outstanding perks and the ego-boosts they really needed. Encouraged by their charade, Ryan buys a full-blown cop car from Ebay (adding lights, sirens, and L.A.P.D. decals) and together they go on calls for fun!
Fun, that is, until they jokingly harass a group of dangerous Russian extortionists run by ruthless Mossi Kasic (James D’Arcy) who are shaking down Georgie’s, a favorite restaurant of the guys where Justin has fallen for the hostess, Josie (the beautiful Nina Dobrev). Josie is also an aspiring SPFX make-up artist on the side, just so’s you know. Comes in handy later on for the plot, too
While playing around with their cop persona’s, they actually get involved with some real cops (Rob Riggle) who take them as the real deal and tell them about Kasic being a super bad guy who has a strangle-hold on the community, but they’re powerless to convict him due to lack of evidence. Well, that just gives Ryan an excuse to go all Rambo on the case and set up his own personal sting operation on Kasic to nail him for good.
Unfortunately, Justin isn’t on the same page as Ryan, and the two are constantly bickering on whether or not they should stay pretend cops, or walk away with their lives. What the hell, there gonna spy on Kasic and be the good guys! They even kidnap and torture Kasic’s courier named Pupa (the hysterical Keenan Michael-Key) who later becomes their best friend.
The spying pays off and, with Josie’s make-up help, Kasic’s operation is revealed that he’s really housing tons of stolen guns, but what really shocks Ryan is who Kasic’s boss (Andy Garcia) turns out to be!
The end is a whirlwind of the good guys facing off against the bad guys in a comedic shoot ’em up.
Written by Luke Greenfield and Nicholas Thomas, it’s purely formulaic and patterns Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop, and every cop-buddy movie ever made, except these guys aren’t cops. The plot holes are as plentiful as a block of Swiss cheese shot with a Gatling gun (can’t wait to see what YouTube’s CinemaSins does to this!) and the humor is just as scatter-shot. Thank God for Johnson and Wayans who hold the movie together with their natural comedy and personalities. There are patches of genuine humor here and there, but sadly, not enough to sustain throughout the whole movie.
The direction by co-writer Luke Greenfield (whose done mostly TV series) is all over the map and never settles down at any point. This movie had SO much potential given its goofy premise, but the screenplay meanders and flip-flop’s way too much to make it cohesive, which is too bad as I would have like to seen this movie work.
The Secret of My Success (1987)
Dressing up like cops and pretending to enforce the law is one thing, but dressing up like an executive and pretending to be a non-existent hot-shot ad-guy is another thing! Just ask Michael J. Fox.
Fox plays graduate Brantley Foster who moves to NYC where he supposedly has as job waiting for him as a financier. Upon arriving, he discovers that his company has been taken over by a rival corporation and he’s been laid off before he even started! After several unsuccessful attempts to get another job, Foster ends up working in the mailroom of the Pemrose Corporation as a lowly clerk.
One day, Foster realizes that the “suits” are making horrible decisions and that he has better ideas, given his education. An empty office in the building gives him a crazy idea: dress up like a powerful executive who’s new to the team, pretend to be someone called “Carlton Whitfield”, attend meetings and pitch his ideas (which are viewed as brilliant!) to the company run by Howard Prescott (Richard Jordan).
Playing the Superman card, Foster has to change from his mailroom persona to his executive one without anyone catching one. While doing this, he meets and falls in love with Christy Wills (Helen Slater), a fellow financial wiz kid and recent Harvard graduate. But she only knows him as Carlton the exec, not Foster the mailroom boy. In the end there’s a major crisis in the company that requires Foster to come clean about his identity, pull their resources together, and save the Pemrose Corp. Yay!
Yes, it’s formula, but you got Fox and Slater and a fine screenplay by Disney scribe A.J. Carothers. Add to that the great directorial hand of Herbert Ross and the rockin’ 80’s soundtracks of Night Ranger, Pat Benatar, Roger Daltrey, and Katrina and the Waves. It’s a funny, slightly bawdy, entertaining, and a nice vehicle for Fox and his high energy and comedic timing.