Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) are two best friends in their thirties who haven’t really succeeded in life. Ryan spends his days unofficially coaching kids football at the local park whilst Justin struggles to establish himself as a games developer. Deciding to dress up as police officers for a party one evening, the guys soon realise that they get a lot of respect, stature and attention from everyone on the street, especially women. Everyone thinks that they are real police officers so the guys pretend to be cops to enjoy the perks. But soon they cross paths with a local mobster who doesn’t waste time in making the hapless duo his number one target.
Let’s Be Cops as a premise could have really gone either way. Having not been impressed with any buddy-cop franchises aside from Bad Boys and 21 Jump Street, it’s high time we got some new faces into the genre. Thankfully, Let’s Be Cops is truly laugh-out-loud funny with a nonsense concept that feels totally believable in a fun way.
The success of the film lies squarely with Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. They effortlessly sell the premise as the two best friends and anyone who has seen their work on New Girl can attest to their natural chemistry and banter. They positively bounce off one another with quick-fire comedy that feels organic. It’s exactly how best friends would act in such ridiculous situations.
The supporting cast are all fine. Keegan-Michael Key is hilarious as a gangster who befriends our hapless duo whilst the always underrated Rob Riggle finally gets a substantial supporting role. England’s own James D’Arcy does a good job as a scary mobster and it’s nice to see screen legend Andy Garcia lend himself to this kind of protect too. Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries doesn’t have much to do other than look hot in short-shorts but she obliges. Natasha Leggero is only in this for a short while but she steals her scenes as a turned-on bystander who allows the cops to use her apartment for a stakeout.
Co-writer and director Luke Greenfield brings a nice style to Let’s Be Cops. He resists the worrying trend of cutting his film like a frantic music video, but instead allows the comedy and circumstance do the talking. When needed, the action is ramped up accordingly and choreographed very well too. The set-pieces are also hilarious – the final gun fight is excellent but the store break-in featuring a giant naked man jumping on Wayans Jr. is tear-inducingly funny.
Let’s Be Cops is a very entertaining caper that frequently conjures up belly laughs. In Johnson and Wayans Jr, we have a fresh new comedy-duo that can go on to make it big like Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. Much better than Ice Cube and Kevin Hart’s recent Ride Along, Let’s Be Cops might not reinvent the wheel but it does the basics just right to leave you with a comedy that hits all of its marks.