I have been looking forward to this film coming out since I first saw the red band trailer back in March. I've watched the trailer over and over again and laughed so hard every time. I was nervous that it would be one of those situations where all of the funniest parts were in the trailer, but to my pleasant surprise it lived up to my expectations and was hilarious all the way through! This is my kind of movie--ridiculous "what if" premise followed by a fun adventure of a movie.
Most people will be trying to compare this film to the Jump Street films. I liked it better than 22 Jump Street, and is probably on par with the first installment. And even though the pacing in this film moves along nicely, some viewers may have issues with the uneven tonal balance between the comedy and drama. Although the first 2/3 of the film were pretty well balanced (much like Jump Street), the tonal shifts became slightly jarring during much of the late 2nd and early 3rd act. But the film stuck with it and made it work. It wasn't so light (like Jump Street) that you didn't get nervous about the fate of the protagonists. In this film, you actually thought that they might get killed or arrested.
I think that most people's issue with this film lies within the fact that it's not formulaic. They want a full-fledged story that the film is committed to from beginning to end, instead of showing a series of events happening from a "what-if" scenario and then adding in a plot half way through that some may have felt was forced upon it. But honestly, this is how it would have really happened--fun at first with no consequences popping up, and then all of a sudden everything comes together and your life is at stake.
Although completely entertaining, this film doesn't come without flaws. I wasn't a huge fan of the direction by Luke Greenfield. Some of his decisions left me scratching my head and coming up with better ways of doing it myself. This, combined with a porous script, had me asking questions throughout the movie. Like, how did the bad guys not see Justin's red van parked outside of their headquarters (100 yards away) as they pulled up? And why were Justing and Ryan taking--not whispering--when Mossi (the antagonist) was looking for them in the money room? He should have found them within seconds. And why did they take their time when going to get weapons to help Officer Segars when he needed backup? And why did Officer Segars go by himself without backup when showing up at the building where he was told was the bad guys' headquarters? This seemed to be a detail that was inserted in order to create the end result that they wanted. It felt like a forced circumstance. There were one or two more, but none of them were too distracting as long as I reminded myself that it's still a comedy. Greenfield is lucky that he had such a talented cast with great chemistry. And although the script and the direction wasn't exactly where they could have been, I applaud this film for not taking predictable routes, even though there were a few times when it could have.
I know that it was probably started out as a fun concept that was turned into a full feature film, but I think that you will find it entertaining as long as you put your critic book down and just enjoy it. Who's to say that a flawed movie can't be thoroughly enjoyable? It may have its faults, but it's the exact film that I asked for when I first saw that trailer 5 months ago.
Twizard Rating: 86