10 March 2010

A Couple of Dicks


Starring Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Rashida Jones, Sean William Scott, Adam Brody, Jason Lee
Written by Mark Cullen & Rob Cullen

Directed by Kevin Smith

Release: 26 February 2010

Warner Bros., 110 mins., Rated R

Plot: Two longtime NYPD partners clumsily fight the Mexican mob while trying to sort through their own family issues - financing a daughter's wedding, finding out if the wife's cheating on you, all with bullets flying around. Fun times.

Once Kevin Smith's name was attached to the project, my ticket was instantly sold. For some, that basically was the deal breaker. For me, the biggest 'ahh, shit' moment was the news that Tracy Morgan, who I find to be one of the most obnoxious human beings on the planet (although I have no doubt his 30 Rock co-stars would vehemently disagree with me), was co-starring opposite the awesome Bruce Willis in this buddy cop flick. 'Ahh, shit' is right.

For Smith's first outing directing a script that's not his own, he couldn't have selected a better project. The script is reminiscent to something Smith would write - random conversations, 'interesting' characters, and a helluva lot of swearing - but not nearly at the caliber of his skills (yes, I say he has skills). There's the true-and-tried/tired plot of a Mexican gang going all Punisher on folks all because they need to get to something the main baddie lost. And speaking of the baddie, he's your typical one-note character. To the Cullens credit, they do try to craft both humanity and menace into Poh Boy, but actor Guillermo Diaz just ain't good enough to pull it off. Not only is the familiar Mexican gang device used, but there's also the two familiar storylines that are central to this: a father unable to pay some big fee of some sort for a family member (estranged wife, daughter, mother), and a man unsure of his wife's fidelity. I'd be more ticked at the script's unoriginality if it wasn't for the dialogue, which is undoubtedly the movie's strong-point.

The characters, Jimmy (Bruce) and Paul (Morgan), and the dialogue they have is what makes or breaks this movie. Luckily, it's some damn good dialogue.

Bruce Willis is fine, absolutely fine in his role, because he knows this type of character backwards and forwards. He could literally have sleepwalked through it. But he appears to be having a blast; there seems to be a genuine smile with his banters between him, Morgan, and Dave (Scott). And of course, he looks completely at ease with his gun. Willis stars opposite Tracy Morgan, who I can't find any reason to enjoy. His voice is annoying, you could barely understand what he says sometimes, and his idea of a punchline is raising his voice 10 vocals high. But somehow, someway, Willis and Morgan come across as a fully functional, nine-year time/friendship duo. So, fine, I'll accept it, but damn if I don't dislike Morgan.

It's great to see Sean William Scott onscreen again. As to be expected, I enjoyed all of his scenes. Same said for Adam Brody, who I haven't seen much of since The O.C. concluded - which is weird, 'cuz he has the acting chops, he just doesn't seem to really wanna do anything beyond small independent flicks and thus, less notoriety. Brody is a strong comedic force, and it's saddening he's not in more projects. Surprising stars to show up: Jason Lee (Mallrats), a Kevin Smith regular, who didn't even look like himself without some sort of ruggedly beard, and Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy, the Vampire Slayer), who shows up in two scenes as Willis' daughter. Rashida Jones is simply beautiful. No other word to describe her.

A Couple of Dicks isn't receiving generally positive reviews, and I get that. There's the Kevin Smith haters, there's the folks who just find this a sub-par 'homage' or uninspired throwback to the 1980's buddy cop comedies/dramas, and there's those who just don't like it period for whatever reason. It's possible that if it wasn't for my Smith bias (if I wasn't clear: I love the guy), perhaps my judgment of Dicks wouldn't be so favorable. But honestly, there's some good material in this film, and it deserves to be recognized.

Is it a really good movie? No. Is it decent as a homage to said '80s films? Yeah, sure. Is it Kevin Smith's best work? Nope.

But it has a above average script, a (mostly) likable cast, and I can honestly say I enjoyed my time watching the movie, and after it was done, I had a nice 'ol smile on my face and satisfied with my comedy and bullety action craving for the week.

It's difficult to recommend A Couple of Dicks. The best option I can present is provide you with the suggestion to check out the Red Band trailer for the film, as it gives you more of a clue as to what type of a movie it is moreso than the rather underwhelming theatrical trailer. If it seems halfway funny or interesting, than yeah, go see it. The trailers don't do the film justice. Plus, if you're any fan of Bruce Willis...c'mon, yah gotta.

Note: I am firmly aware that the title is officially known as Cop Out, as directed by Warner Bros. and Kevin Smith, but I've decided to use the original script title, A Couple of Dicks. Really, I just dig it better, although I do have love towards the new title - it should, and always shall be, known as A Couple of Dicks

1 comment:

jeremythecritic said...

Thank you for referring to this film by its proper title. It looked from the trailers that Smith was gonna be held back by a sub-par script. And this review indicates all suspicions were right. Great stuff, as always.