EARLY in "Let's Be Cops," star Damon Wayans Jr. asks his buddy Jake Johnson if what they're doing - impersonating police officers in order to gain the unintentional perks and respect - is illegal.
Possibly, maybe, don't worry about it, is Johnson's reply to his literal partner in crime. And, thus, the premise of a movie is built.
That premise is not enough to sustain the movie over the course of its running time. But "Let's Be Cops" isn't an entire waste of time. If anything, it introduces moviegoers to Johnson and Wayans, who fans of Fox's "New Girl" know have an instant, affable chemistry.
Like their sitcom counterparts, Johnson's Ryan is the uberslacker, while Wayans' Justin is the slightly (only slightly) more put-together half of the equation. The duo don police uniforms while attending a college reunion masquerade party and discover that people actually believe they're officers.
Ryan soon goes overboard, obtaining a police cruiser and scanner. Soon the duo are taking house calls and following the trail of a drug lord, who also has the hots for Justin's waitress crush (Nina Dobrev, of "Vampire Diaries").
The spiritual brother of "Let's Be Cops," in a way, is stoner comedy "Pineapple Express," in which Seth Rogen and James Franco find themselves in over their heads and on the run from a villain who wants to do them harm. But where "Pineapple Express" was elevated by farce, "Let's Be Cops" decides to take itself seriously, leading to action comedy that leans heavily on the former sentiment in its final moments.
Johnson and Wayans have a potential buddy future, but "Let's Be Cops" is not the strongest vehicle to get them there.