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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.69%
Worth A Look46.15%
Just Average: 0%
Pretty Crappy46.15%
Sucks: 0%

2 reviews, 1 rating

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Cop Car
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by Peter Sobczynski

"The Cop And The Kids"
2 stars

Have you ever found yourself idly wondering what it might be like if someone made a film that combined the key elements of "Stand By Me" and "The Bad Lieutenant"? Did you over watch the one-time cable standard "Big Shots" and think about how cool it would be if it were set in an open-carry state? Are you actually looking forward to the latest Spider Man reboot and curious to see some of the work of the nearly-unknown director plucked from obscurity to make it? Then you may want to check out the nasty dark comedy/thriller "Cop Car" and make your dreams come true. Of course, if your cinematic dreams involve a plausible narrative, interesting characters or scenes that aren't sleazy enough to make you want to rush home and take a "Silkwood"-style shower, you may want to give it a fairly wide berth.

The film opens with an extended shot of a pair of 10-year-old boys--Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) and Harrison (Hays Wellford)--walking through an endless field while trying to come up with the most vulgar phrases imaginable. Although backstories are kept to a minimum, there are enough hints to suggest that they have caused some trouble are running away from home--a plan that seems ridiculously optimistic when one considers that the only provision they seem to have between them is a single piece of beef jerky. Their travels eventually lead them to the woods where they stumble upon a police car in the middle of nowhere with no sign of anyone in sight with the exception of a beer bottle on the hood. Being kids, they dare each other to sneak up on the car and touch but when they discover that the doors are open and the keys are inside, they decide to ramp it up a notch by taking the car for a joyride.

While bombing around in the car, utilizing the driving skills gleaned solely from video games, and fooling around with the gear left in the back seat--including the guns that they cannot get to work but which they love pointing in each other's faces--the true owner is more than a little peeved. This is Sheriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon) and at this point, the film rolls back to show that he is not just an idiot for leaving his car and gun out in the open for anyone to snag but a deeply dangerous loon. He was there to dispose of a couple of bodies in the trunk of his car and had only gotten rid of one before losing his ride. Desperate to cover his tracks and recover his vehicle, Kretzer manages to convince dispatch that he is still behind the wheel of his car and tries to track the kids down before they are nabbed or, even worse, curiosity leads them to inspect the trunk for themselves. Naturally, he is a little late in regards to the second part and that is where the fun and games stop and things take a much darker turn as the kids find themselves literally trapped between two heavily armed nuts who are out for blood and are clearly not particular as to whose it might be.

In other words, "Cop Car" is one of those bully boy movies that pop up in the late night slots at film festivals to offer cheap thrills to woozy viewers who are still under the impression that such things as floridly vulgar language, gratuitous gore and the sight of kids in mortal peril are somehow transgressive. This is not to say that such elements cannot inspire an entertaining movie but I think that it needs to earn the right to use them instead of just deploying them willy-nilly in an effort to shock moviegoers. At the risk of sounding prudish, I don't think that "Cop Car" comes close to earning those rights. Although I cannot imagine that a ton of backstory would serve to make it any better, the screenplay by Jon Watts (who also directed) and Christopher Ford is so opaque that there is nothing on display for anyone to care about--the two kids are nowhere near as colorful as their language and since we hardly know anything about them, it is difficult to get that worked up about the peril that they stumble into, even when they stare directly into the barrels of the guns they are holding to try to figure out why they won't fire. The second half, when things take a turn for the dark, is just too contrived for its own good, especially in the way that it trucks an obnoxious woman (Camryn Manheim) for no other reason to ensure that at least one person will get blown away during the carnage in the final reels.

"Cop Car" is not a particularly good movie but neither is it an incompetent one--Watts has directed the film with an obvious sense of cinematic style, though I am at a loss as to what it was that Sony saw in it that screamed out "This is the guy we want for the "Spider Man" reboot. The best thing about it, though, is Kevin Bacon's turn as the extremely bad sheriff--bringing a combination of glib charm barely masking smug malevolence as only he can, he juices up the proceedings every time that he comes on the screen to such a degree that by the time the film reaches its final act, most viewers will find themselves rooting for him to catch the kids and do what is necessary. It isn't enough to make "Cop Car" worth watching when all is said and done but considering how awful it might have been in other hands, viewers should be happy that he was along for the ride.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=28285&reviewer=389
originally posted: 08/13/15 11:11:29
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2015 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2015 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2015 San Francisco Film Festival For more in the 2015 San Francisco International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2015 Seattle International Film Festival For more in the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2015 Vancouver Film Festival For more in the 2015 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/31/17 danR Semi-awesome, 4.5 stars. 5 stars
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  07-Aug-2015 (R)
  DVD: 29-Sep-2015


  DVD: 29-Sep-2015

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