Cop Out establishes its movie lineage right away, with a slow-motion toe-to-head tilt up, set to the Beastie Boys' "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn," of black-cop/white-cop buddies Jimmy and Paul swaggering stone-faced toward the camera. Director/editor Kevin Smith (who notably didn't write the Cop Out script; this is the Clerks auteur's first feature-length work for hire) immortalizes his heroes as stock crime-flick badasses in their very first frame.
So far, so middling—until Smith complicates matters by following that shot with an opening sequence that sends Cop Out swerving into smarter territory: Determined to prove his bad-cop "acting" chops to a skeptical Jimmy (Bruce Willis), Paul (Tracy Morgan) interrogates a perp by subjecting him to an unrelenting marathon of movie character impersonations. Beginning with Al Pacino in Heat and moving, logically, through In the Heat of the Night and Training Day, Paul's "homage" (which he pronounces "homm-ige") eventually jumps off the rails. Jimmy, on the other side of the interrogation-room glass, can only gape at his partner's increasingly non sequitur charade: "Dirty Dancing? Star Wars? Everything on cable?!?"
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