The latest in a long string of ‘If Only the Movie Lived Up to the Trailer’ movies, Let’s Be Cops tries very hard (too hard) to be an over-the-top tale of bumbling idiots whose bumbling idiocy outshines the hard work of seasoned, well-trained veterans. Sure, real police officers have been trying for years and years to build a case against an L.A. crime boss who’s extorting a neighborhood, but two numbskulls can just take of it themselves in the space of a week! And the uncanny ability to also uncover rampant police corruption along the way? Bonus!

And how about the serendipity of Wayans Jr.’s character falling for a woman who, unbeknownst to him, is not only the crime boss’ girlfriend but also has the hidden talent of being an aspiring monster makeup artist? Boy, I wonder if those will prove worthwhile at some point in our story…

Clearly, Let’s Be Cops has no basis in reality, so what if we just suspend disbelief and instead focus on the comedy. That’s what we’re here for, right?

Let’s see—we have the aforementioned face-slapping, plus the hilarity of an inexperienced person firing a semi-automatic machine gun for the first time, and, oh yes, the always-funny moment when a naked man’s genitals are precariously close to another man’s face.

Director Luke Greenfield (the equally-disastrous Something Borrowed), who co-wrote the screenplay with fellow first-timer Nicholas Thomas, is able to get some decent performances out of Johnson and Wayans, Jr. Johnson, especially, proves that the comedic chops he flashes on Fox’s New Girl aren’t a fluke. And despite the preposterous story, there are actually a few laugh-out-loud moments. A few.

They’re not nearly enough, though, to keep Let’s Be Cops from being guilty of grand theft comedy. And the sentence is a lifetime ban from directing and writing for Greenfield. With no possibility of parole.

2/5 stars