Cop Out
Two smiling middle-aged cops stand in front of a background covered in bullet holes
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKevin Smith
Written byRobb Cullen
Mark Cullen
Produced by
CinematographyDavid Klein
Edited byKevin Smith
Music byHarold Faltermeyer
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • February 26, 2010 (2010-02-26)
Running time
107 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million
Box office$55.6 million

Cop Out is a 2010 American buddy cop action comedy film directed and edited by Kevin Smith, written by Mark and Robb Cullen (marking the first and only Smith-directed movie he did not write). Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan star as two veteran NYPD partners who are on the trail of a stolen, rare, mint-condition baseball card and find themselves up against a memorabilia-obsessed gangster. Adam Brody, Kevin Pollak, Guillermo Diaz and Seann William Scott co-star in supporting roles.

Cop Out was released on February 26, 2010, by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is Smith's highest-grossing film, earning $55 million on a $30 million budget, but earned negative reviews from critics.


James "Jimmy" Monroe and Paul Hodges are veteran NYPD street detectives. After failing to stop a holdup at a cell phone store, engaging in a reckless shootout, and failing to catch the suspect, they are suspended pending an investigation of their conduct.

Jimmy's daughter Ava is getting married in a $50,000 event, stressing him. Unwilling to let Ava's arrogant stepfather Roy pay for the wedding, Jimmy sells his most prized possession, a one-of-a-kind 1952 baseball card. The pawnshop is robbed by career criminal Dave, who takes the card. Jimmy and Paul arrest Dave during his next burglary, but he already sold the card to Poh Boy, a drug dealer obsessed with rare baseball memorabilia.

Jimmy and Paul cut a deal with Poh Boy, agreeing to retrieve a stolen car on the dealer's behalf. In the trunk, they discover a woman named Gabriela, who is the mistress of Poh Boy's top rival. Poh Boy's gang murdered the rival and tied her up as a present for their boss. While Jimmy and Paul are distracted by a hidden camera footage showing what looks to be Paul's wife Debbie with another man, Gabriela runs off, is captured, and brought to Poh Boy.

Jimmy bails out Dave to steal the card back, but Dave accidentally falls and hits his head, rendering him comatose. Jimmy breaks into Poh Boy's hideout only to be surrounded by the gang. Paul learns that Debbie tricked him by faking an affair after finding his camera. After killing most of the gang in another shootout, Jimmy and Paul find Poh Boy holding Gabriela at gunpoint. They kill him, but Paul's bullet goes through Jimmy's baseball card in Poh Boy's shirt pocket. Impressed with the duo's initiative and inadvertently assisting two colleagues caught up in the shootout, the precinct chief restores Jimmy and Paul to active duty, awarding them commendations.

Crestfallen at the destruction of his prize card, Jimmy reluctantly lets Roy pay for the wedding. Much to his chagrin, Pam insists that both her husband and her ex give Ava away. Jimmy says nothing about it, but Paul discreetly forces Roy at gunpoint to sit down when the priest asks for Ava to be given away, to let Jimmy have the moment to himself.

In a post-credits scene, Dave awakens from the coma.


Actors Bruce Willis (left) and Tracy Morgan (right)


Director Kevin Smith

Initially titled A Couple of Dicks, the spec script by Mark and Robb Cullen made it onto the 2008 "Black List" of popular scripts.[2][3] The title went through various name changes before release, first as A Couple of Cops[4] and then to Cop Out,[5] with the final title emerging from Smith's belief that changing the original title was a "cop out".[6] The film marks the first movie that Smith directed that he did not write.[3]

[T]he Cullen brothers are dialogue crazy—the whole movie is like cops who are practically married but not actually, and, I mean, that's right up my alley. It's like Dante and Randal as cops.

— Kevin Smith, on why he wanted to direct the film[7]

The studio requested Smith to storyboard the entire film; Smith agreed, and he and Dave Klein, the director of photography, reviewed the results with Warner Bros. two months in advance.[7] Filming began on June 2, 2009 in New York City and finished on August 14, 2009,[8] for a February 26, 2010 release. Smith took a pay cut in order to work on the film, which he wanted to do because of Bruce Willis's involvement.[9] Ultimately, the film cost Warner Bros. $37 million to produce.[10]

On-set conflicts

On the January 17, 2011 episode of WTF with Marc Maron, Smith discussed his disappointment with working with Bruce Willis and his satisfaction with working with Tracy Morgan during the making of Cop Out. Smith stated that one of the reasons that he agreed to direct the film was because he wanted to work with Willis, but that Willis "wouldn't even sit for a fucking poster shoot" and that "were it not for Tracy, I might have killed either myself or someone else in the making of fucking Cop Out."[11][12]

A talent rep associated with the production of the film reported conflicts on set between Smith and Willis, saying of Smith, "He smokes way too much pot. He sat behind his monitor. He didn't interact with the actors. The actors felt they were on their own."[13] Smith defended his use of marijuana while working, saying, "I dealt with every actor who wanted to be dealt with on that set" and pointed to the number of projects he worked on while making Cop Out to counter claims he was unproductive because of marijuana.[14] Smith admitted in an interview that heavy marijuana-smoking had become an integral part of his work ethic after claiming that he watched actor Seth Rogen on the set of Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008) use marijuana as a tool to become a more creative and productive worker, saying, "The moment I start smoking, I start working.... That way, no one could ever take it away from you."[15]

On March 30, 2022, Smith apologized for his past insults directed at Willis following the news of Willis' retirement from acting due to aphasia complications.[16]


Main article: Cop Out (soundtrack)



The first trailer for the film was released on December 23, 2009, and then attached to Sherlock Holmes.[17] A red-band trailer was also released on February 5, 2010. The film was also advertised extensively in the United States during NBC's coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.


Cop Out was released theatrically in the United States on February 26, 2010, by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Home media

In May 2010, DVD and Blu-ray Disc editions of the film were announced for release on July 20, 2010.[18] In July of that year, Cop Out was the #1 selling DVD in the US.[19]


Box office

Cop Out grossed $44.9 million in the United States and Canada and $7.4 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $55.4 million, against its production budget of $30 million.[20]

The film opened #2 behind Shutter Island,[21] earning $18.2 million its opening weekend.[20]

Critical response

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 18% based on 163 reviews and an average rating of 3.90/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Cop Out is a cliched buddy action/comedy that suffers from stale gags and slack pacing."[22] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 31 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[23] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.[24]

Critic Roger Ebert gave the film 1.5 out of 4 and wrote: "Many of the gags possibly looked good on paper, but watching Willis and Morgan struggle with them is like watching third graders do Noël Coward, if Noël Coward had been rewritten by Kevin Smith."[25] The film was later compared to The Other Guys, a buddy cop comedy film which was released several months afterwards and was better received by critics; Stephen Whitty of The Star-Ledger said in his review of the latter film, "Measured against this year’s other police farce—remember Cop Out?—it looks absolutely heroic."[26]

Smith's reaction to critics

In response to the critical drubbing Cop Out received, Smith lashed out at the community of film critics on his Twitter account saying, "Writing a nasty review for Cop Out is akin to bullying a retarded kid. All you've done is make fun of something that wasn't doing you any harm and wanted only to give some cats some fun laughs."[27] Smith also implied on Twitter that he may charge critics for advance screenings of his films, a service which has typically been provided free; this subsequently ignited a strong response from some critics condemning his stance as "dishonest" and "disingenuous".[27] Roger Ebert, responding to Smith, tweeted, "Kevin Smith thinks critics should have had to pay to see Cop Out. But Kev, then they would REALLY have hated it."[28]


  1. ^ "COP OUT rated 15 by the BBFC". Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  2. ^ Finke, Nikki (December 10, 2008). "THE BLACK LIST 2008: Top Screenplays". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "SModcast 79". Archived from the original on May 14, 2009. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  4. ^ "Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan are A Couple of Cops for Kevin Smith". October 17, 2008. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  5. ^ "(Exclusive) Smith's 'A Couple of Dicks' New Title Revealed, 'Inception' Trailer For Christmas". Archived from the original on September 1, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  6. ^ "Kevin Smith on why 'A Couple of Dicks' became 'Cop Out'".
  7. ^ a b Barshad, Amos (May 14, 2009). "Kevin Smith on A Couple of Dicks and the Collapse of Zack and Miri". New York.
  8. ^ ""Dicks" About To Wrap It Up…". Archived from the original on August 17, 2009. Retrieved August 14, 2009.
  9. ^ Chen, David (January 3, 2011). "Kevin Smith Did Not Direct 'Cop Out' Just For the Paycheck". Slashfilm. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  10. ^ Fritz, Ben (February 25, 2010). "Movie Projector: 'The Crazies' could drive 'Cop Out' mad". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 2, 2010. Cop Out cost Warner $37 million to make the movie and setting its bar for success higher.
  11. ^ "Episode 141 - Kevin Smith" WTF with Marc Maron. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  12. ^ "Kevin Smith Says Working With Bruce Willis on COP OUT was "Soul Crushing"". Collider. January 19, 2011.
  13. ^ Masters, Kim (February 3, 2011). "Kevin Smith: 'Alarmist Ninnies' Misinterpreted Sundance Outburst". The Hollywood Reporter.
  14. ^ Smith, Kevin (February 1, 2011). "Some Questions & Answers About Red State". Smodcast. Archived from the original on April 13, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  15. ^ Ditzian, Eric (February 9, 2011). "Kevin Smith: 'I Became A Stoner Because Of Seth Rogen'". MTV. Retrieved August 25, 2011.
  16. ^ Stolworthy, Jacob (April 1, 2022). "Kevin Smith expresses regret over 'petty' Bruce Willis comments he made". The Independent.
  17. ^ "Kevin Smith's 'Cop Out' Trailer". Archived from the original on August 15, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  18. ^ David McCutcheon (May 13, 2010). "Cop Out Ousted to Home". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  19. ^ "'Cop Out' tops U.S. DVD sales chart". Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  20. ^ a b "Cop Out (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  21. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for February 26–28, 2010". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  22. ^ "Cop Out Film Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  23. ^ "Cop Out reviews at". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  24. ^ "CinemaScore".
  25. ^ Ebert, Roger (February 24, 2010). "Kevin Smith hasn't outgrown third-grade poop jokes". Chicago Sun-Times – via
  26. ^ Polay, Macall (August 6, 2010). "'The Other Guys' movie review: Just silly enough". Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  27. ^ a b Wigler, Josh (March 25, 2010). "Kevin Smith's Online Rant Gets Heated Response From Film Critics". MTV. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
  28. ^ Ebert, Roger [@ebertchicago] (November 4, 2010). "Kevin Smith thinks critics should have had to pay to see "Cop Out." But Kev, then they would REALLY have hated it" (Tweet) – via Twitter.