I am not ashamed to admit that it's definitely not a very good film, but I'm glad it happened. Kevin Smith was able to make a change of pace and do something different: it's the first film he's directed from someone else's script, and it's probably as close as he'll get to making a Fletch movie as he'd wanted to a few years ago. But Tracy Morgan's Paul ain't no Fletch, on account of how freaking unobservant he is. (Though I did like his almost Zen calm/amusement when he drives during the chase sequences. Good to be a good, calm driver in circumstances like that.) It's a film about cops written by guys who apparently know almost nothing about cops beyond the bad 80s cop films Smith and his writers are emulating. Maybe it should've more knowing about that, a little, no a lot, winkier.
Yeah, I'm re-imagining the film already, a sign that it's not all that good, but again, I was stupidly amused. (For an even more in-depth re-imagining, listen to the Friday, Feb. 26th episode of Cort and Fatboy with KOIN Local 6 critic Jeff Bayer. Heck, just listen to Cort and Fatboy in general.)
Also, it was an inspired choice, finding Beverly Hills Cop's composer Harold Faltermeyer to write the dumbly catchy synth score. I do wonder what sort of score the late Michael Kamen would've done for this flick had he been around to do it -- he did several films like this ("some of which I love, and some of which I can appreciate as commerce," he once said) -- but I'm still humming Faltermeyer's stuff. I did and do the same when I saw/see Top Gun, even though I can now more easily tell that Faltermeyer's score for it was basically Vangelis-Lite.
Cop Out's look is more "light-y" than Smith's other films, actively manipulating the light in a little more obvious way. David Klein (the director of photography on six of nine of Smith's flicks) even achieves a Bruckheimer-like glow in a couple of scenes, and as I'm an only slightly abashed fan of many Bruckheimer productions*, I approve.
Now how likely is it that Smith will next get to make his hockey film Hit Somebody? I want to see a Kevin Smith sports film. Another change of pace, but one that would probably fit his style better.
* And I absolutely adore Con Air. That's my kind of action insanity.