By: Heather Seebach
In 2010, director Quentin Dupieux had filmgoers scratching their heads at his bizarre, fourth-wall-breaking Rubber, the film about a murderous, telekinetic tire. Since then, his absurdist brand of filmmaking has split critics and viewers but all his movies are certain to be something special. His latest, Wrong Cops (completely unrelated to his last film, Wrong) is relatively straight-forward compared to his previous works but it still has a surreal quality that makes it distinctly Dupieux.
This comedy follows the exploits of some corrupt police officers as they engage in drug dealing, blackmail, sexual harassment, attempted murder, and countless other crimes. It boasts familiar faces of comedy such as Steve Little (Eastbound and Down), Eric Wareheim (Tim & Eric), Jon Lajoie (The League), and Arden Myrin (MADTV), plus Dupieux regulars like Mark Burnham, Daniel Quinn, and Jack Plotnick. Additionally, there are some random cameos by Eric Roberts, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Ray Wise, and Marilyn Manson (seriously).
Cops began as a trio of 15-minute vignettes to which Dupieux added additional footage to turn it into a 90-minute feature. Still, the final version plays more like a series of sketches loosely strung together. It's like a surrealist Reno 911! only these cops are not just inept - they are cruel, apathetic, and disgusting. For a comedy that seemingly strives to offend its audience, it does not go far enough. Perhaps I am immune to low-brow humor now but I simply found most of the film to be pretty tame except for one or two twisted moments.
Fans of absurd humor will certainly find a couple laughs here. The best bits come from the characters' preoccupation with electronic music (mostly Dupieux's own tracks under the stage name Mr. Oizo), especially Daniel Quinn's gunshot victim being passed from one bad cop to another. These funny characters would have been better served in their original form, a series of shorts, but Cops is just quirky enough to entertain fans of unconventional comedy, and just normal enough to not scare off all those people who hated Rubber and Wrong.
Wrong Cops is now available on DVD. Special features include commentary with Dupieux, Wareheim, Burnham, and Myrin, along with the original short, Wrong Cops: Chapter 1.