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‘Let’s Be Cops’ has shortage of laughs

  • This image released by 20th Century Fox shows Rob Riggle, from left, Jake Johnson, and Damon Wayans, Jr. in a scene from, "Let's Be Cops." (AP Photo/20th Century Fox, Frank Masi)

The last month of summer is typically a dumping ground for titles studios don’t have high hopes for. Sometimes, if they’re comedies, it’s because the belly laughs are few and far between. All of those apply to “Let’s Be Cops.”

Jake Johnson of TV’s “New Girl” is paired up with another generation of Wayans — Damon Wayans Jr. — in this farce about two Ohio losers in Los Angeles, a tough place to be a single guy with zero status.

Justin (Wayans) is a video game developer who is so passive that he gives off a feminine vibe. Ryan (Johnson) is an ex-jock who now spends his days roughing up kids in pick-up games on a local playground.

Justin’s cop-centric video game police gear he has around the house is handy when he and Ryan want to drop in on an alumni “costume” party. People there mistake them for police; women eyeball these manly men in uniform. And Ryan, who used to feel the love of the crowd, gets hooked. “Let’s be cops!”

Next thing you know, they’re walking the streets, in uniform with fake guns and fake nametag. ” The cute waitress he’d like to reveal his true identity/sexuality to (Nina Dobrev) checks him out, so he’s in. But Ryan is WAY in — trading his battered ’80s Camaro for an eBay police cruiser, adding decals and lights, boning up on police procedure, listening for real police calls on a scanner.

Things get more and more out of hand, from domestic disturbances that turn out to be spirited sorority girl brawls, to tangles with the Russian mob. The psychotic head mobster Mossi (James D’Arcy) is not amused as “the new sheriffs in town.”

Co-writer/director Luke Greenfield (“Something Borrowed”) lets what few laughs there are in the script land.

Johnson’s timing is sharp, and Wayans has that Wayans way with dopey under-reactions to crazy situations.

The result is, a summer comedy that’s barely funny enough to warrant — ahem — release in the summer.


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