Cop & 1/2
Reviewed by Reed Hubbard
Rating: 10 Beans
ear Lord! Do they get any worse than this? A person really has to try to make a movie this bad. There’s no way it could happen by accident.
This movie was made around the time Burt Reynolds declared bankruptcy. He obviously needed some quick cash. Now Burt has made some of the worst movies ever (“Cannonball Run II”, “Hooper”, “Stroker Ace”…need I go on?), but “Cop & ½” had to have him wishing for the glory days of “Smokey and the Bandit” sequels.
The film stars Burt Reynolds and…that’s it! No one else in this movie is on even the C list of any respectable talent agency. Of course, there is Norman D. Golden II who makes his big screen debut here. Golden comes from that Hollywood tradition of smart-mouthed black midget kids that spawned Gary Coleman, Emmanuel Lewis, and the like. He plays Devon, an eight-year-old who wants to be a cop. So he’s riding home from school one day and sees Burt chasing a couple of bad guys in his Camaro. This is a big stretch for Burt, who usually drives a Trans-Am. A limousine picks up one crook, so Burt zooms after another one who’s still running. The bad guy hops the fence, but Burt just smashes through it with his car, tearing up about five lawns in the process, because he’s too old and fat to give chase on foot. What a way to protect and serve!
Devon gets the license plate of the limo and chases it that evening to a warehouse where he sees the head criminal, Fountain, kill a man. Fountain is a drug kingpin who wants to be a 50s crooner. He wanders Tampa in a zoot suit and spangled shoes, his hair Brylcreemed back in a duck tail. This is how I would dress if I were a drug lord and wanted to remain inconspicuous. When the cops get there, Devon is their prime witness, and he barters a deal with them. He’ll give them the license plate and the name of the crook if they make him a cop, and they agree! Whuchootalkinbout, Willis?
Now in the real world, a cop would glare at an eight-year-old, make him wet his pants, get the info and send the kid home to mama. However, this is Hollywood where smart kids push idiotic adults around like Hot Wheels. So the Tampa police agree to let this kid drive around with Burt. Devon skips school to do this. His grandmother lets him do it. Burt takes the kid into a biker bar. We’ve veered WAAAAAY over into La-La Land here! Here’s the rest of the movie: Devon moves in with Burt. Burt gets attached to Devon. They team up to get Fountain and the bad guys. Sorry if I spoiled it for you.
There is absolutely, completely, positively, thoroughly, definitely, utterly NOTHING funny in this movie. They ought to rent it at S&M leather shops as a torture device. The kid’s sole purpose is to be cute, but he’s not even that. He’s like a mosquito that you keep waiting for someone to squash. He traipses through the movie spitting out detestable cliches like, “I’m your worst nightmare…an eight-year-old with a badge!” Every once in a while his language is peppered with off color words like, “Let’s go kick some ass!” and “Damn civilians!” in an effort to make him cuter. It only makes him more execrable. One viewing of this movie will make you nostalgic for Gary Coleman in “On the Right Track.”
As bad an actor as Golden is, he at least has an excuse. He’s only eight. Burt’s been acting for well over ninety years, or so it seems, and he is AWFUL! I mean AWFUL! He could’ve done the whole movie drunk and have turned in a better performance. He must have had divorce proceedings and failed chicken restaurant investments on his mind because he sure didn’t give much thought to this crummy role. Anyone would have done a better job. Tom Arnold, Chevy Chase, Bob Denver, George Wendt, Pauly Shore…take your pick. Think of the worst performance you’ve seen in the last ten years and Burt’s “Cop & ½” showing will out stink it. The truth is that Burt is probably always this bad. It just takes a pitiful script, a pathetic production, and a community theater-grade supporting cast to make it more vivid. Where are Jerry Reed and Sally Field when you need them?
Produced by Ron Howard’s Imagine Studios, “Cop & ½” is directed by none other than Fonzie himself, Henry Winkler. Well, Happy Days ain’t here again. It’s a shame that the powers the Fonz used when he smacked the jukebox at Arnold’s to make it play don’t work when directing movies. He’d have had better luck directing Anson Williams and Donny Most in a 50s version of “Waiting for Godot.” Since this movie is so bad, I’m re-titling it. I call upon AMPAS to officially change its name to “Cop and Ten Beans.”
In the words of one of my esteemed BMN colleagues, “Avoid at all costs!” Apologies, Ned.
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