A Comedy That'll Likely Offend Far More Than It'll Ever Endear ...
Apr 9, 2014
I think each of us has an age wherein we delight in the fundamentally absurd. I’d imagine that, for most of us, it’s in our early teen years. We find practically anything funny. The more absurd? Well, that just means the funnier we find it. Comedy that isn’t meant to make any sense, however, has a curiously short shelf-life in the masses-at-large. Rarely – if ever – does it make a comeback, but – more and more – it would seems folks are willing to embrace something truly absurd just so long as its raunch isn’t limited to any particular topic or interest. Everything must be fair game for it to work, and then – and only then – can a film find an audience that will truly appreciate how little it has to say about so very much of us.
WRONG COPS is such a film.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Officer Duke (played with grizzled conviction by Mark Burnham) is the kind of cop no one wants patrolling their neighborhood. He’s rude. Crude. Inappropriate. Doesn’t care whom he offends. Doesn’t respect the law. Isn’t above breaking it himself. Deals drugs (weed cleverly disguised in the carcasses of dead rats) to children. But this morning he accidentally shot one of his neighbors in the neck, and now he’s stuck hauling the slowly-dying man around in the trunk of his squad car … unless he can find someone to brush the near-stiff off onto so’s he can get back to what looks like his day job.
Now, let’s get this straight right now, peeps: most of you? You’re not going to like WRONG COPS. You won’t find it funny. You won’t find it logical. You won’t find it all that interesting. You may think it was written and directed by someone with the worst case of Attention Deficit Disorder. You’ll likely be offended. You’ll likely turn it off after 15, maybe 20 minutes.
Me? Well, I couldn’t look away.
This isn’t to say that I found all of it funny. Continually quirky is more like it.
From start to finish, WRONG COPS is loaded with characters you’ll love to hate. Officer Duke is only the lead here, but – when he’s not onscreen – there are plenty of others. There are his two slightly homo-erotic partners who are constantly in a state of denial over their sexuality. There’s Officer de Luca (Eric Wareheim), a stout fellow who’s happily using his badge to try to coerce women so out-of-his-league to show him their breasts. There’s Officer Holmes (a delicious Arden Myrin) – she’s paired up with de Luca – but doesn’t take her job nor the victims she meets seriously. There’s Officer Sunshine (Steve Little), who finds himself caught between his marijuana addiction and a satchel of money he finds buried in his back yard. There’s Officer Rough (Eric Judor), a creepily disfigured officer who refuses to give up his dream of writing electronic music. Or there’s Captain Andy (Ray Wise) – the ranking officer who starts out a fallen officer’s eulogy by pointing out his wife’s giving birth so he won’t be at this “event” (funeral) very long.
Three decades ago, they were making this in the major motion picture studio, and they called it POLICE ACADEMY. That film featured an assortment of nitwits who – despite their nitwittiness – rose to the occasion and managed to save the day; for all its foibles, WRONG COPS is the same idea … only without any measure of the previous’s feel-good sentimentality. Instead, these are – as the title clearly states – the absolute worst people filling out the uniform, and it shows in each and every moment of their each and every day on the job.
Writer/director Quentin Dupieux’s feature won’t be for everyone. In fact, I suspect this one will have a fairly hard time finding an audience. But for folks who love this fare – consider me one of them – there are enough moments of mirth to make it a solid 82 minute experience.
WRONG COPS (2013) is produced by Realitism Films, CTB Film Company, Realitism Group, Rubber Films, Timwe, and Arte / Cofinova 7. DVD distribution is being handled by MPI Media Group under the IFC Midnight label. As for the technical specifications, this is one deftly shot flick with some quality sights and sounds (take note: music plays a key component toward moving the narrative along). Lastly, if it’s special features that interest you, then there’s a cast/crew commentary track along with a Marilyn Manson short and the theatrical trailer to explore. Have at it, kids.
(MILDLY) RECOMMENDED. If anything from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim is to your liking, then you’re likely to find a few quality laughs in WRONG COPS. I know I did … and I don’t even like a lot of Adult Swim’s line-up. The film isn’t so much a story as it is a series of characters and vignettes thrown together loosely around what only a budding screenwriter would call a plot, but there was just enough off-the-wall quirkiness in there that kept my interest that I couldn’t look away … even when I tried.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at MPI Media Group provided me with a DVD copy of WRONG COPS by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their kindness in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.