Cop and a Half (1993)
I'm your worst nightmare, an 8 year old with a badge - Devon
Whenever I watch a children's movie I do my best to take into account that it has been a long time since I was a child but even doing that some children's movies just don't work. Sadly "Cop and a Half" is one of them as it is 97 minutes of struggle with humour which is lame, a star who appears like he wishes he was somewhere else and not a lot else. It certainly has no appeal for any adult watching and the humour and fantasy is so tired that I doubt many a child would find it amusing.
Eight year old Devon Butler (Norman D. Golden II) loves cops shows, his life is ruled by wanting to be a cop and every spare minute he pretends to be a cop. It is how comes he finds himself down at the police station as after following a suspicious car to a warehouse he witnesses a murder. But Devon won't hand over the info with out something in return and that something is becoming a cop much too veteran officer Nick McKenna's (Burt Reynolds - The Cannonball Run) annoyance as he finds himself saddled with an 8 year old sidekick.
Think back to 1989 for a moment and there were two cop movies "Turner & Hooch" and "K-9" where a cop found themselves saddled with a dog as a partner and whilst initially unhappy grew to like the dog. Guess what "Cop and a Half" is the child equivalent because we have Nick begrudgingly having to have a kid as his partner and whilst disliking him to start with grows to like Devon by the end of the movie. Oh there is also the bad guy element as we having a singing mobster and some incompetent heavies but that is unimportant because what "Cop and a Half" should be about is that friendship and the fantasy fun of Devon getting to act like a cop.
The trouble is that none of that ends up entertaining and ends up feeling like a procession through a lot of obvious ideas. Now I know we are talking children's movie here but there is nothing fresh or really creative about it with a lot of corny ideas and cornier gags. In truth the only good scene in the entire movie is one where Devon gets to book his teacher for speeding, the rest of the movie is just lacking.
Now there are probably a lot of reasons for this from some poor writing to maybe Henry Winkler not being the right man to direct. But I have heard it said that Burt Reynolds was not on form whilst making this and to be honest if that is the case it certainly comes across. I know as Nick Reynolds is meant to be grumpy but he looks like he wants to be anywhere but making the movie. And then there is Norman D. Golden II as Devon who seems to have been told to play him as if this was a movie made a decade earlier. It doesn't work and makes "Cop and a Half" a struggle from start to finish.
What this all boils down to is that "Cop and a Half" was probably made to be a companion movie to "Kindergarten Cop" but unfortunately none of it works and even taking into account we are talking a children's movie it just seems flat.
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