DVD Review: Wrong Cops

Published on April 18th, 2014 in: Comedy, Current Faves, DVD, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore


There are people who will love Wrong Cops. Others will probably cringe with embarrassment and/or confusion. Some might even run from the room screaming. These are all normal reactions to a Quentin Dupieux movie. His absurdist humor is certainly not for everyone.

Much like his previous films Rubber and Wrong (review), Wrong Cops (which is not a sequel, by the way) is full of weird and annoying characters who do stupid and or inexplicable things and who react to situations in stupid or inexplicable ways. The ostensible plot from the DVD sleeve—”Officer Duke has a bit of a problem: he accidentally shot a man while holding a teenager captive”—will quickly be forgotten once you are introduced to Dupieux’s convoluted, seemingly banal world of ridiculousness. You may even wonder if Wrong Cops has a plot at all, or if it’s just a series of vignettes connected by the fact that 1) most of the characters are police officers and 2) all of them have strong opinions about electronic music (Dupieux, as usual, also scored the movie under his musical alter ego, Mr. Oizo).

One of the things that distinguishes Wrong Cops from most mainstream film comedies is that it is unpredictable and frequently inexplicable. No, it’s not a shock to learn that Duke is homophobic (and perhaps even a self-hating homophobe in denial), but that’s not the kind of unpredictability I mean. Events take place that appear to be attempts to pile bizarre traits on top of already-bizarre characters, but eventually reveal themselves to be parts of a larger narrative. Most of the time. We still don’t know why Officer Rough has a lump on his forehead and an eyepatch. And that’s okay.

Another thing Dupieux excels in: a mélange of broad and subtle comedy. There’s no slapsick per se, but there is an awful lot of physicality to these characters, in both facial expressions and body language. It’s all very obvious and goofy, such as the way Duke walks around half in uniform, half in his underwear and screams into his cellphone because, you know, he’s a disgusting loudmouth asshole. Still, he’s not smart enough to chastise Rough for trying to kill himself in the bathtub with a gun instead of a knife. He’s more perplexed at the fact that Rough’s fully clothed.

Wrong Cops is more textured than Dupieux’s previous movies in terms of not only the more complex plot, but also the sheer number of characters we encounter and the cameo appearances. Kurt Fuller, Ray Wise, Grace Zabriskie, Eric Wareheim, and Marilyn Manson all show up and they all make the most of their time onscreen. Manson’s portrayal of an awkward, neurotic teenager is hilarious because the dude’s older than me (i.e., not a teenager) and because he’s so believable in the role.

Dupieux regulars like Mark Burnham, Eric Judor, Steve Little, Arden Myrin, and Daniel Quinn all play major roles, but there are a couple of brief cameos from other Dupieux alumni, like when Jack Plotnick wanders by a character’s car while walking his dog, a nice nod to Wrong. Interestingly, Dupieux has chosen to film his most elaborate movie to date with something that appears to be Panavision, rendering the depth of field extremely flat and blurry around the edges. It’s an affectation that makes the movie that much more outlandish.

Although fans of Dupieux will enjoy the humor in Wrong Cops, they may be alienated by the nasty tone of the movie as a whole. Whereas both Rubber and Wrong contained people who were exceedingly irritating but still ultimately sympathetic, almost everyone in Wrong Cops is loathsome. Your tolerance for this will depend upon whether you think the overall humor of Wrong Cops—and it is genuinely hilarious—outweighs this. For anyone who is sick to death of the kinds of comedies currently playing in any multiplex in North America, Wrong Cops is the perfect, perverse choice.

Wrong Cops was released on DVD by IFC Midnight on April 15. The DVD includes a commentary track from Quentin Dupiuex, Eric Wareheim, Mark Burnham, and Arden Myrin; the Wrong Cops: Chapter 1 short film that preceded the movie; and a theatrical trailer.

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