And yet, they feel so very right…

After an accidental shooting, a group of crooked (see: Wrong) cops pass a not-quite-yet-dead body around in an attempt to dispose of it.  The cops must also contend with unpaid drug deals, a possible past in gay pornography, obtaining a record deal, buried money, blackmail, and the urge to dance.

Previously seen in shortened chapter form, we now have Quentin Dupieux’s latest opus in its full-length, re-sequenced form.  While it doesn’t quite reach the gloriously surreal highs of his previous features Rubber and Wrong (on my list of favorite films of 2013), there is still quite a bit to enjoy here.  With the most threadbare of plots to hang its non-gags on, your enjoyment of Wrong Cops will hinge largely on your tolerance level for absurd, dadaist, anti-humor tangents and lack of narrative focus.  If you had no time for his previous efforts, then this assault on 2 or 3 senses will do nothing to change your mind.

Wrong Cops
Directed by
Quentin Dupieux
Cast
Mark Burnham, Eric Judor, Steve Little
Release Date
18 December 2013
Jason’s Grade: B-

Maintaining the theme of “no reason” introduced in his first feature and carried throughout his work since, Wrong Cops relies less than ever upon story progression to carry the audience through and more upon sheer fascination about where, if anywhere, the humor will come from next.  It’s not always easy to fully enjoy what Dupieux lays out for us, but he certainly earns admiration for his sheer conviction and confidence in his material  There’s never a question that every moment turns out exactly as he intended.  His shooting style here also has a decidedly 70’s copsploitation feel that lends a nice bit of context to the otherwise incoherence at hand.

Considering his day job as an electronic musician (under the moniker Mr. Oizo), it’s a bit surprising that it has taken three movies for music to play such a large part of a Dupieux film.  Make no mistake – the score made a big impact on both of his previous works, but here, it’s almost a character in and of itself.  Most of the police officers have their own connection to music in some way, including house music-obsessed Officer Duke, budding songwriter Officer Rough, and, in the film’s best running gag, the near-dead body (hilariously played by Daniel Quinn) who is more concerned with what songs he is hearing from the various trunks he is continuously stuffed in than making any legitimate attempt to escape.


Performances are pretty solid throughout, particularly by Dupieux regulars.  Mark Burnham leads the show and is hilarious as the particularly gruff, drug-dealing, mama’s boy Officer Duke.  His opening scene involving the hiding of drugs in dead rats opens the movie and gives you a good idea of what you’re in for, while his late-film reaction to being told to write a book provides one of the biggest (and longest) laughs.  Quality support work is supplied by Eric Judor, Steve Little, along with Dupieux newbie Marilyn Manson (yep, that one), genre vet Ray Wise in a small role as a police captain delivering a rather funny eulogy late in the film, and show-stealer Arden Myrin.  Only Eric Wareheim seems out of place here.  His normally hilarious, but very particular comic persona (of which I am a fan) as evidenced in multiple shows on Adult Swim does not make for as good of a fit with this material as it would so naturally seem.

JASON’S FINAL THOUGHTS:

Writer/director/producer/composer/editor Quentin Dupieux presents a near future where crime has been so eradicated that the job of a policeman encompasses sheer boredom, so much so that even the investigation of an obvious murder dressed to look like a suicide proves to be of little interest.  It does feel a bit like a speedbump in his career after the far superior Rubber and Wrong, but there is still quite a bit to enjoy here.  If you were a fan of his previous films, you’ll get a kick out of this more minor effort while waiting to see what he pulls out of his sleeves next.  Just remember not to try to decipher too much meaning out of any of this.

Review by Jason Howard, Film Critic