‘Let’s Be Cops’ Hits The Silver Screen — Can People Laugh at Police In the Face of Ferguson Protests?

Marlon and Shawn Wayans are notorious for making bad comedies. Both of the brothers hold a 35 out of 100 score for their respective careers on review aggregator Metacritic — with only a few of their popular Scary Movie series even breaking into average scores. But that hasn’t stopped the pair from churning out movies in the meantime. Their newest film, Let’s Be Cops, opened Tuesday night to $1.2 million with only late-night showings under its belt, according to Deadline. Its total first-day showing brought it to $3.95 million.

Let's Be Cops opens to critical derision, awkward Ferguson tension
Let's Be Cops opened this weekend in the face of widespread protests in Ferguson, Missouri

Although Let’s Be Cops isn’t poised to be a summer blockbuster by any means — it is already doing a good job of pitting itself high against the odds. The high popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is set to pull in another huge of chunk of viewers this weekend, with Expendables 3 opening on Friday.

But Let’s Be Cops‘ biggest competition may not come from other movies playing across from it at the theater — it instead opens against what will is quickly turning into one of the most violent confrontations between police and citizens in recent United States history — the Ferguson, Missouri protests over the alleged murder of Michael Brown.

Protester in Ferguson, Missouri.

A review from pop culture site Vulture pointed out the negative connotation that a film called Let’s Be Cops might have during a time where a large amount of people want to be anything but.

“It seems weird to try to laugh at a movie called Let’s Be Cops the same week that an American town burned in response to what appears to be an act of police criminality. Bad timing can’t be held against a film, though. People loved The Heat last year, but would the sight of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy dropping a black man off a balcony register as many yuks this week? Should it?”

Whether or not Michael Brown’s alleged murder and the Ferguson protests in its aftermath prove to bring down Let’s Be Cops, the critical reaction certainly does not stand to help its case. In line with other Wayan Brothers’ movies, it is currently holding a 28 on Metacritic. Reviewers have not been content to simply tear apart Let’s Be Cops‘ premise, but have also gone for the movie’s heart.

Before assigning it the lowest score possible, Entertainment Weekly critic Jason Clark wrote:

“If Let’s Be Cops were content to be simply an unfunny genre exercise, it would be easy to dismiss it and move on. But the sting of astoundingly ill-advised sexism and homophobia is harder to shake.”

Would you still see Let’s Be Cops in light the Michael Brown shooting and the Ferguson riots? Would you have seen it anyway?