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Movie review

‘Wrong Cops’: a case of arrested development

Jon Lajoie and Joel Bryant in “Wrong Cops.”Quentin Dupieux/IFC Midnight/An IFC Midnight Release

The cringe-worthy comedy “Wrong Cops” is a DIY effort from French filmmaker and electronic musician Quentin Dupieux (“Rubber” and “Wrong”), who also contributed the music, cinematography, and editing. No doubt a labor of love, the result is just plain laborious for the audience.

“Wrong Cops” resembles exploitation films or action TV shows from the ’70s, complete with freeze frames and bad lighting. That’s about as clever as it gets.

In a city that looks a lot like Los Angeles but apparently has no crime, the cops are buffoons. Duke (Mark Burnham) sells dope buried inside dead rats. Renato (Eric Wareheim) busts women so he can harass them and order them at gunpoint to take off their clothes. In a series of rambling, disjointed subplots, Duke has a weird encounter with an oddball teen (the very un-teen Marilyn Manson), trysts with a transsexual, accidentally shoots a neighbor (Daniel Quinn), hides the injured victim in his car, and gets another cop, Sunshine (Steve Little), to finish the guy off. Sunshine turns out to have a gay porn past. He’s also dug up a bag of money in his backyard and . . . on and on, all played out with no detectable comic pulse.


The actors chew the scenery mightily while trying to earn a paycheck, spouting jokes so crass and unfunny that it makes the “Police Academy” sequels seem sophisticated. “Wrong Cops” screens at the Coolidge Corner Theatre at midnight, which is the only way it should be seen — preferably in a group and sufficiently lubricated. Maybe then it will eke out a chuckle. Otherwise, it will be tough to find laughs or novelty in this wrong-headed enterprise.

Loren King can be reached at loren.king@comcast.net .