“Let’s Be Cops” …or not



To call “Let’s Be Cops” a horrible movie is an insult to the word itself.

The film feebly tells the story of Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.), two down-and-out college graduates from Ohio trying to make it big in Los Angeles.

Most of what makes the movie a disaster is the screenplay written by Luke Greenfield and Nicholas Thomas. For starters, look to its lack of plausibility; during the weeks it takes for the course of events to unfold, these two boneheads—with no criminal or law enforcement experience—get away with impersonating police officers and responding to incidents while driving a police cruiser purchased on Ebay and decorated at Kinko’s.

Now the L.A.P.D. has oft been accused of being corrupt, but they’ve never been accused of being plain old stupid. This is what makes it difficult to believe that these “not cool enough to be frat boys” could get away with this far-fetched, hair-brained scheme. Even if they could fool the police, they’d never get over on the criminals.

The next problem with the screenplay is the development of the main characters. Typically, people who move from middle-America to Los Angeles do so with dreams of stardom. They want to make it big in music and/or movies. But that’s not the case here. Justin moves to L.A. to pursue video game design and Ryan moves for no apparent reason whatsoever.

Justin’s career would probably have been better served by a move to northern California, but at least he’s got a job working in the industry. Ryan, on the other hand, is just there; he’s done one TV commercial that made him the $11,000 he’s been living off of for two years.

Screenplay flaws aside, the next greatest contributing factor to this suckfest is the acting. Jake Johnson’s portrayal of Ryan as an obnoxious, delusional, former college football star is just laughable—and not in a good way. Ryan is supposed to come across as a misunderstood, lovable doofus but instead is played as an insufferable moocher whose entire existence revolves around sucking the life out of his best friend. If this film had been made 10–15 years ago, Vince Vaughn would have been perfect as Ryan.

Johnson’s performance wasn’t the only one that was lackluster as Damon Wayans Jr. did not appear to be up to his usual standard. Just about everyone makes the assumption that any person with the last name Wayans is funny, and for good reason, but this particular performance did not honor the family tradition. His delivery read as a “best of” other Wayans’ performances. Keenan, Damon Sr., Shawn and Marlon were all on the screen, embodied by their nephew/son. Had this movie been written and/or directed by an elder Wayans, Damon Jr. would probably have been brilliant. Alas, it wasn’t.

The Verdict: After all is said and done, let’s NOT be cops!