With apologies to the late Lloyd Bentsen, “I watched Lethal Weapon. I loved Lethal Weapon. Lethal Weapon was a good movie. Cop Out, you’re no Lethal Weapon.”

For anyone reared on the buddy-cop flick, Cop Out will be nothing less than a major disappointment. Pick any of them —48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop, Running Scared, Bad Boys, Rush Hour— and Cop Out’s not even close to being in the same league… even with a score by Harold “Axel F” Faltermeyer and tunes from Beastie Boys and Run-DMC.

Kevin Smith, directing (for the first time) a script he didn’t write, should know better. Generally, it’s Smith’s words that carry his movies, so why he attached himself to this project is a true head-scratcher. You would think he would know a bad script when he reads it.

Jimmy (Bruce Willis) and Paul (Tracy Morgan) are New York cops who have been partners for nine years. They’re investigating a drug ring, but their (yes) rouge tactics, get them (yes) in trouble with the sergeant who (yes) takes their guns and badges.

Meanwhile, Jimmy is also trying to pick up the tab for his daughter’s $50,000 wedding—a bill his daughter’s rich new stepdad (Jason Lee in a wasted cameo) is only too willing to pay. Turns out, Jimmy has a rare (and valuable) baseball card, so– problem solved.

Except (yes) the baseball card gets stolen and sold to (yes) the very same drug lord Jimmy and Paul have been investigating all this time.

Really, I can’t make this stuff up.

Also we meet (yes) the rival cops, who are always giving Jimmy and Paul crap and (yes) insulting their momma several times in the process.

In all fairness, Cop Out does start out okay. The opening scene with Paul in the interrogating room is great, and Sean William Scott (as the card stealer) will make you laugh more than a couple times.

Overall, though, the script relies too much on cute, trivial anecdotes (If you can make it through the rival cops’ boots dialogue without rolling your eyes, you’re stronger than I am.) It almost as if first-time screenwriters Rob and Mark Cullen had a moleskine full of interesting little stories that they thought were funny, and then they tried to cram them all into this movie: Isn’t it funny how some people pronounce ‘homage’? Isn’t parkour funny? Wouldn’t it be funny if a cop was eating chips really loudly during a victim interview?

Uh… not so much.

This one is (yes) quite a stinker.

1/5 stars