Review: Let’s Be Cops

download (1)When I first saw previews for “Let’s Be Cops” I thought, “Finally, something original.” Is it just me or are screen writers getting less and less creative these days? I feel I can accurately lump an overwhelmingly large majority of recent movies into one of five categories:

  1. superhero movies
  2. Disney/fairytale re-makes, with a twist
  3. movies about cars
  4. sequels
  5. movies adapted from books

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some occasional variations from these categories, such as “Transcendence,” “The Lego Movie,” and “Neighbors” (and it’s worth noting that it took me far too long to even find three examples). However, for the most part, I’m getting rather bored with the current creative levels of our screen writers. Nowadays, it seems that if any movie appears “original” or “different,” to me, I end up finding out that it was a book first. I have nothing against making books into movies, but I find it interesting that there haven’t been a lot of films released recently that have a unique plot that was entirely created by a screen writer. Until, of course, “Let’s Be Cops.”

The name, alone, sets the stage for a theme of nonchalant law-breaking, which is obviously a recipe for laughs. The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, which allows the characters and the plot to follow an absurd, unrealistic story that gives the viewers a sense that anything can (and probably will) happen.

Given that I have been less than impressed with recent film plots, the fact that “Let’s Be Cops” was an original idea that I had never seen before intrigued me. Unfortunately, however, I had “22 Jump Street-like” expectations for the film, and they definitely fell short. I appreciate the comedic relief that Jake Johnson provides to his role as Nick, in “New Girl,” however his acting (and that of Damon Wayans Jr.) in this film was less than impressive. I believe this reveals the importance of good writing, as an actor is only as good as the script they are provided with. (Obviously there are immensely talented actors out there who can shine no matter what the circumstances, but my point is that the mediocre ones are only able to shine brightly when given good direction, cleverly created stories, and well-written lines.) Watching “Let’s Be Cops,” I was expecting the gut-busting hysteria of the Jump Street films, and I believe I only “lol’ed” once or twice. It was humorous, but not hilarious.

All in all, I think it was worth the time and money to appreciate and support a unique plot line, regardless of its execution, but I wish the film would have lived up to my expectations. Nevertheless, I applaud the idea and hope Luke Greenfield and Nicholas Thomas continue to expand their imaginations and create intriguing stories, hopefully with a better end result in the future.

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

tnmtSo I just returned from watching the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and I have a few thoughts to share.

Firstly, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by Megan Fox’s performance. Who knew she would have just as much appeal fully clothed and playing a role with some depth as she did in, well, every other movie she’s been in? I mean, she’s no Jennifer Lawrence, but I was impressed by her tonight. I’ve never been a fan of hers, but if she keeps taking roles like April O’Neil and challenging herself (and succeeding) to become more than just a pretty face and a sultry persona, she just might turn me. Into a fan, I mean.

Secondly, once my mom pointed out that Tony Shalhoub was the voice of Splinter, every word that came out of his mouth sounded ridiculous to me, because I couldn’t stop picturing Adrian Monk. Seriously, watch that movie while picturing Adrian Monk saying all of Splinter’s lines and try to take him seriously. You just can’t.

In addition to being distracted by Tony Shalhoub’s voice, I spent a good chunk of the movie wondering (spoiler alert?) how my childhood pets would have turned out had they grown up to become crime fighting ninja warriors, and this is what I came up with.

I think my cocker spaniel/poodle mix, Pepper, would have been the underdog (pun intended) that everyone roots for. She always had a lot of spunk for her size, and she probably spent 80% of her time on earth sitting on the top of our couch, taking watch of the neighborhood from our front window and barking at anything that moved. You just knew she was ready to take action when needed, though she probably wouldn’t have actually lasted long in a legitimate fight. But dang it if she wouldn’t go in guns a blazing, anyway!

Misty is a different story. Misty was our pomeranian that followed two steps behind my mom wherever she went, laid by the front door and sulked until my mom returned from her errands, and was too fat to jump onto the couch (or possibly even just to jump, in general). I don’t think there would be much of a place for Misty on a mutant ninja team. Either she would die in the first battle or she would just be left behind to hold down the fort while the real warriors fight. But who knows? Maybe there’s potential for a redemption story sequel in there, where the rest of the team finds themselves in a predicament that only Misty can rescue them from. (But I really doubt it.)

I realized, as I was half-watching the movie and half-day dreaming about my fantasy pet ninjas, that Michelangelo is pretty much a carbon copy of how my sister’s Siberian husky, Misha, would be, if he were a mutant ninja warrior. And I’m not just saying that because I’m too lazy to think of my own character. I honestly can’t think of any better way to describe him than Michelangelo, and I’m sorry that now you’re all jealous of what a hilariously amazing animal we had.

This leaves us with our cat, Mittens. Mittens would undoubtedly be the leader of the whole operation, because, well, she’s a cat. I don’t think she would take as parental of an approach to her leadership as Splinter did, however. This would definitely be a full-fledged dictatorship.

Overall, I don’t know how my pets would fare in a life of heroism. Probably not very well, with Pepper’s over-ambition but lack of execution, Misty’s complete inability to go for a 20 minute walk without wheezing to death (also, did I mention she eventually went blind in one eye and almost completely deaf?), Misha’s excitability and inevitable insubordination (he tried to eat Mittens on many occasions), and Mittens’ totalitarian rule. But I suppose we will never know for sure.

Lastly, I have to say, one of my favorite parts of the theater experience tonight was seeing all of the young children who were simply ecstatic to be watching their heroes on the big screen. I saw one little boy wearing a Ninja Turtle chest plate t-shirt and a shell backpack, and another little boy sitting next to my parents had a toy sword that he would whip out and swing around whenever the turtles were fighting with their weapons. During rest times, he would, of course, store it in the back of his t-shirt, or “sheath.” There’s always something exciting about banding together with fellow movie-goers to enjoy something you are all mutually interested in, but there’s something even more special about children and parents getting to enjoy that hype and excitement together. Whether they are my kids or someone else’s, I will always be inspired by generations coming together to share special memories of something that is nostalgic and meaningful to both parties.