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Kevin Smith teams up with Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan to do a stand-up riff on buddy pictures in the action-crime genre, and the guys are game jokesters all. Smith has plugged into the pre-release hype machine with his humorous spin on being ejected from an airline flight for his size — a topic he interjected in a Zack and Miri Make A Porno phone interview I did with him last year.

The Willis smirk, seemingly mothballed after his glorious Moonlighting run, is firmly in place, and the comedic star of Morgan, as the next great black hope of jokes, is certainly ascendant.

The problem with Cop Out is that, in every way, it is the ultimate cop out, completely unwilling and/or unable to even make an effort to tell a story. Audiences can sometimes watch a movie and anticipate the extended gags that will appear on the DVD special features. Here, if we’re lucky, the bonuses might include the story because all that’s playing in theaters are the outtakes.

That’s not exactly a winning formula. Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy hits from back in the day might have been quick romps in the laugh sack, but the best of the bunch always attempted to tickle our narrative fancies as well as our funny bones. Cop Out is a bad bust. Grade: D