'Let's Be Cops' review: Criminally unfunny

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Jake Johnson, center, as Ryan, making an emphatic

Jake Johnson, center, as Ryan, making an emphatic point to Rob Riggle as Segars, while Damon Wayans as Justin looks on in a scene from the film, "Let's Be Cops." Photo Credit: AP / Frank Masi

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The laughs are loud, lewd and low in "Let's Be Cops," a spoof of cop "buddy pictures" that is pretty much the definition of "an August comedy." The last full month of summer is typically a dumping ground for titles that studios don't have high hopes for. Sometimes, that's because of the lack of marketable stars. Sometimes, they're just too hard to market. And sometimes, if they're comedies, it's because the belly laughs are few and far between. All of those apply here.

"New Girl" cast members Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. star in this farce about two Ohio losers losing their way through Los Angeles, a tough place to be a single guy with zero status.

Justin (Wayans) is a meek and mousy video game developer who is so passive he gives off a feminine vibe. Ryan (Johnson) is an ex-jock who once quarterbacked for Purdue but now spends his days roughing up kids in pickup games on a local playground. Nobody gives either of these guys a second look.

Justin's cop-centric video game may have been rejected by his bullying boss, but the police gear he has around the house is handy to have when he and Ryan want to drop in on an alumni "costume" party. People there mistake them for police.

Women eyeball these manly men in uniform. And Ryan, who used to feel the love of the crowd, gets hooked.

"Let's be cops!" Next thing you know, they're walking the streets, in uniform with fake guns. Ryan trades his battered '80s Camaro for an eBay police cruiser, adding decals and lights, boning up on police procedure, listening for real police calls on a scanner.

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Things get more and more out of hand, from domestic disturbances that turn out to be spirited sorority girl brawls, to tangles with the Russian mob.

Johnson has made a number of smart indie film choices that allowed him to shine -- "Drinking Buddies," "Safety Not Guaranteed." But here he has ended up in a summer comedy that's barely funny enough to warrant -- ahem -- release in the summer.

PLOT Two losers pretend they are police officers.

RATING R

CAST Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr.

@Newsday

LENGTH 1:44

BOTTOM LINE Not very arresting.

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