Friday, 13 August 2010

Funny and fast-witted, Copout (dir Kevin Smith, 2010) is going to take some beating in the entertainment stakes. Action-movie maven Bruce Willis stars as New York City cop Jimmy Monroe and he takes Tracy Morgan, who plays his partner, Paul Hodges, on a long ride into a seemingly endless series of days and nights of extempore law enforcement once his prized baseball card is stolen by Dave (Seann William Scott), an unemployed Gen Y slacker with a taste for parkour, hard drugs, and watching heartbreakingly beautiful sunsets on Long Island.

Monroe desperately needs the cash the card would bring on the memorabilia market to pay for his only daughter's wedding. Pride demands that he get back the card or else put up with seeing his arch nemesis - the step father, Roy (Jason Lee) - get all the kudos by shelling out the required $50,000.

Pride is one thing. But since Dave has given the valuable card to a drug dealer (Poh Boy, played by Guillermo Díaz) who has a perverse taste for baseball, practical demands impose a rough challenge.

Poh Boy offers Monroe a deal: find my lost Mercedes and you get back the baseball card undamaged. So Monroe finds the car. He also finds the girl stashed in the trunk. Then he finds the flash drive containing hundreds of drug business records. And then he loses the girl. Then Poh Boy finds the girl (the car is unimportant by this stage). Undaunted, Monroe and Hodges find the parkour freak who started all the fuss, Dave, so that they can get back the card, save the girl, and accrue brownie points with their boss back at police HQ.

The two cops are in the doghouse due to the disastrous outcome of a bungled sting where a source was killed while a drug deal was under way. The shooter fled with Monroe and Hodges in pursuit, and shots were fired in a public place endangering onlookers.

Hodges was dressed as a mobile phone during the fracas. But the comic element doesn't stop here. There's also the daughter's wedding. And then there's Hodges' lovely wife who he stupidly suspects of being unfaithful. Ah yes, comedy always leans heavily on love for its essential message.

And then there's Dave, the parkour enthusiast and experience junkie with a frustrating talent for annoying people. Hodges is especially riled, partly due to Dave's penchant for repeating everything that's said to him but mostly by being a general pain in the ass.

There's also a pair of slapstick detectives, Hunsacker (Kevin Pollak) and Mangold (Adam Brody) who fail to endear themselves to our heroes by being completely incompetent while at the same time always staying on the good side of the boss. Investigating crime for these two has the tone of a school science project led by a couple of well-behaved but intellectually deficient nerds. They look like they're busy but they never get close to the truth.

Doh Boy's Mexican crime gang is running around in big SUVs armed to the teeth and killing various criminal associates. Hunsacker and Mangold want to crack the case but all they end up doing is getting shot at, laughed at, and fed. While they're dodging bullets and sounding cooly professional, Monroe and Hodges get the intel, save the girl, and give away the bride.

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