Mr. Movie

Willis can't save Morgan in 'Cop Out'

Webster defines a cop out is avoiding something one ought to do.

Coping out on this project would have been good advice for Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan and all involved. Heavy sigh. So many potential puns. So little space. I’ll manage to resist.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

Willis is loose-cannon cop (what else?) Jimmy Monroe. Loose for his partner, Morgan’s Paul Hodges are lips that can’t resist delivering some seriously stupid lines. As an added bonus, Morgan’s character’s brain is floating one or two loose screws.

Like all buddy cops, the cops shoot first and ask questions later. A gun battle with a bad guy gets Monroe and Hodges suspended for interfering with another team’s Mexican gang investigation. While on suspension, Monroe tries to sell a rare baseball card to finance his daughter’s expensive wedding. It’s stolen in a robbery at the collectible store by Seann William Scott’s Dave — a felon whose own cannon is far from secured to the deck.

Suspended or not, Monroe and Hodges must get the card back. That leads them to — oh, what a surprise — the Mexican gang. Is a picture forming here? In flicks such as this, normal characters serve two purposes. Action revolves around them, and they serve as fodder for the comedy. In this case, it’s loose cannon fodder and all are expendable and forgettable including the two main characters.

Writing and directing legend Kevin Smith directs. It has to be because he needs the money. Smith didn’t write the screenplay so it’s missing his uniquely written and designed characters and the superb dialogue and humor found in his last film Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

TV writers Robb and Mark Cullen are the culprits and this thing plays out like TV — bad TV.

Willis anchors the movie and the theoretical comedy designed to show off Morgan. His 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live TV credentials mean nothing in the movies. Morgan, as like many SNL alums, has no sense of pace or timing. All lines are delivered in a loud gush.

Willis is Willis. Strong, silent, resilient. He dutifully delivers the usual couple of dozen lines just to let you know he’s there, and he does his job. To his credit, Willis can do comedy.

There just isn’t any here.

Mr. Movie rating: 2 stars

Rated R for language, mature themes, some violence. It opens Friday, Feb. 26 at Regal’s Columbia Center Mall 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.