Cop [1988]

Director: James B. Harris
Stars: James Woods, Lesley Ann Warren, Charles Durning, Charles Haid, Raymond J. Barry
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 110 minutes

When Burt Reynolds made his welcome comeback in Boogie Nights, he was doing his best to distance himself from the painful memory of movies like this unbearable 1993 comedy, which is almost saved by its generic good nature. Reynolds plays a seasoned cop teamed with an 8-year-old kid who dreams of someday wearing a real detective's badge. The movie takes place in Tampa, Florida, where little Devon Butler (Norman D. Golden II) witnesses a crime and is questioned by police for details. He'll tell what he knows, but only if he's allowed to be a cop for a while. The kid-hating Reynolds ends up the kid's reluctant partner. It's all done as a lark, of course, but the kid turns out to be a pretty good crime-fighter, and Reynolds comes to care for him when things get rough on their latest case. This ridiculous premise is every bit as contrived as it sounds. If you don't buy into it, Cop and a Half is about as enjoyable as a bout of influenza. If you can go with the flow, however (and that takes some effort), you may find yourself enjoying the chemistry between Reynolds and his half-pint partner. Director Henry Winkler makes it clear that it's all in the spirit of good, clean (and painfully formulaic) fun. Some will call it "cute," so let's not spoil their fun by suggesting otherwise. --Jeff Shannon

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