Written for RAF News September 2014
A buddy cop bromance with two guys pretending to be cops but careful to clarify that they are manly and heterosexual at that.
Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) are bickering thirty-year old friends, afraid of going nowhere until they find themselves in police costumes at what turns out to be a masquerade party. Turned out onto the streets they stumble upon the power that apparently comes with a uniform and enough self-belief. Ordering people to do as their told and with hordes of loose women throwing themselves at them, the allure of being policemen is hard to give up. Evidently: with great power comes no responsibility.
Ryan seems to find his purpose in life and so commits to the role buying a cop car and all the appropriate accessories from eBay. Adopting the role fully and dragging along his friend in order for him to man up and be more assertive, the two end up in easily avoidable trouble with some frighteningly typical Russian villains.
A lot of the story and the characters are cartoonish, a point which is restated with constant physical comedy. The cocksureness of Ryan is the catalyst for all the action in the film whilst Justin is relied on for comic relief: playing flamboyant for laughs with funny voices and effeminate tendencies until he is told to man up; or rather be less of a bitch. The homophobia underlying this central message makes the misogyny seem like an affectation of the film, and not simply the characters – which is worrying.
The film doesn’t ask to be taken seriously. That much is clear from the trailer or the title even. So if you can divorce yourself from seriousness and maybe a sense of morality, there are some laughs to be had. And a lot of two guys slapping each other.