It’s as though some movies just don’t know when they are onto a good thing. That was my initial reaction to this – it might have been worthwhile but it quickly degenerated into yet another piece of boofhead rubbish.
I suppose I should not have been surprised, given that the American buddy genre is almost exclusively aimed at catering to the boy–man’s sandpit sensibilities. Ryan and Justin (Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr) have come from Ohio to make it big in LA. Both have promise, but the dream has not eventuated for either of them and they find themselves disillusioned and going nowhere.
They arrive at a masquerade party foolishly dressed as police officers and after leaving with their tails between their legs they are identified on the streets as the real deal.
Adventures ensue and the fake coppers, whose self-esteem had previously been at rock bottom, are intoxicated by the respect and high regard that they are shown.
Mistaken identity is an old trope – Shakespeare regularly called on it (not that Luke Greenfield’s movie is remotely Shakespearean) – and it can be employed to create life-changing circumstances for those characters allowed to escape themselves.
The problem here is that Greenfield, in opting for the easy sight gag, clichéd mobsters (Russians – what else?), and ‘what the fuck’ dialogue, has presented us with not just another gross-out comedy but a crass-out dud. You could see it coming when the guys are called to trouble at a raunchy hens’ night and again when a squealing Sumo wrestler with no clothes on (just like the naked Chinaman in The Hangover) falls on top of Justin.
The shame of it is that there was a story of some depth needing to be explored.
Alienation and a sense of personal failure are endemic in the shark pool that is our celeb-besotted market society – Ryan (Johnson is impressive) and Justin’s everyday plight deserved a better treatment than low-brow goofiness.
~ John Campbell