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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Let's Be Cops

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Damon Wayans Jr., left, and Jake Johnson star in a scene from the movie "Let's Be Cops."
Director and co-writer (with Nicholas Thomas) Luke Greenfield's buddy movie "Let's Be Cops" (Fox) implicitly honors police work.

But this weak comedy's combination of a farfetched premise, an obscenity-laden script and ill-advised forays into gross-out as well as kinky humor will fail to lighten the spirits of those few mature viewers for whom it can be considered somewhat acceptable.

The slackness is apparent from the start. Mistakenly believing that their college reunion is a costume affair, down-on-their-luck Los Angeles roommates Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) show up for it dressed as policemen.

Noticing on their way home that their uniforms have suddenly make them magnets for the ladies, and that the passing citizenry obey their commands, the pals decide to carry on with their impersonation as a practical joke. The fact that Justin's career as a video-game designer has stalled and that ex-football star Ryan, long ago sidelined by an injury, is essentially unemployed leaves the boys plenty of time to play dress up.

Things take a potentially deadly turn, however, when the two faux Po-Po cross Albanian-born crime lord, and neighborhood menace, Mossi (James D'Arcy). This move not only puts their lives in jeopardy, it also endangers Justin's waitress girlfriend Josie (Nina Dobrev) and Officer Segars (Rob Riggle), a real cop who has fallen for Ryan and Justin's act.

Friendship is put to the test as Ryan, who has gained a new lease on life via their masquerade, thwarts Justin's sensible efforts to bring the whole business to a screeching halt.

Justin's patience is further tried by two incidental characters. The first is a stark naked perp he and Ryan encounter while aiding Segars on the scene of a nighttime break-in. Crazed as well as inexplicably underdressed, the hefty would-be thief tackles Justin in such a way as to end up with his crotch in Justin's face.

Then there's the drug-addled nymphomaniac with whom Justin and Ryan cross paths when they commandeer her apartment as a vantage-point from which to surveil Mossi's base of operations. Her repeated advances draw Ryan's excited interest, but only succeed in annoying Justin.

As for Little Joey (Joshua Ormond), the youthful sidekick Justin and Ryan have acquired -- Ryan met the lad while coaching -- his presence on the scene only serves to make this particular interlude even less palatable.

Most of the running time is devoted to more seemly material. But the barrage of F- and S-bombs almost never falls silent.

The safest response to "Let's Be Cops?" Let's not and say we did.

The film contains much action violence with occasional gore, strong sexual content, including full male nudity and many bedroom-themed jokes, drug use, at least one instance of profanity, pervasive rough and crude language and a vulgar gesture. The Catholic News Service classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Alphonsus Liguori: 
		<p>Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement.</p>
		<p>In his day, Alphonsus fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of Jansenism. His moral theology, which went through 60 editions in the century following him, concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. If a certain legalism and minimalism crept into moral theology, it should not be attributed to this model of moderation and gentleness.</p>
		<p>At the University of Naples he received, at the age of 16, a doctorate in both canon and civil law by acclamation, but he soon gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity. He was ordained a priest and concentrated his pastoral efforts on popular (parish) missions, hearing confessions, forming Christian groups. </p>
		<p>He founded the Redemptorist congregation in 1732. It was an association of priests and brothers living a common life, dedicated to the imitation of Christ, and working mainly in popular missions for peasants in rural areas. Almost as an omen of what was to come later, he found himself deserted, after a while, by all his original companions except one lay brother. But the congregation managed to survive and was formally approved 17 years later, though its troubles were not over. </p>
		<p>Alphonsus’ great pastoral reforms were in the pulpit and confessional—replacing the pompous oratory of the time with simplicity, and the rigorism of Jansenism with kindness. His great fame as a writer has somewhat eclipsed the fact that for 26 years he traveled up and down the Kingdom of Naples, preaching popular missions. </p>
		<p>He was made bishop (after trying to reject the honor) at 66 and at once instituted a thorough reform of his diocese. </p>
		<p>His greatest sorrow came toward the end of his life. The Redemptorists, precariously continuing after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, had difficulty in getting their Rule approved by the Kingdom of Naples. Alphonsus acceded to the condition that they possess no property in common, but a royal official, with the connivance of a high Redemptorist official, changed the Rule substantially. Alphonsus, old, crippled and with very bad sight, signed the document, unaware that he had been betrayed. The Redemptorists in the Papal States then put themselves under the pope, who withdrew those in Naples from the jurisdiction of Alphonsus. It was only after his death that the branches were united. </p>
		<p>At 71 he was afflicted with rheumatic pains which left incurable bending of his neck; until it was straightened a little, the pressure of his chin caused a raw wound on his chest. He suffered a final 18 months of “dark night” scruples, fears, temptations against every article of faith and every virtue, interspersed with intervals of light and relief, when ecstasies were frequent. </p>
		<p>Alphonsus is best known for his moral theology, but he also wrote well in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His <i>Glories of Mary</i> is one of the great works on that subject, and his book <i>Visits to the Blessed Sacrament</i> went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.</p> American Catholic Blog Ultimately there is no friend who can fully understand us, who can walk with us all the way. We must go forward and walk on our own in response to who we are and who we are called to be in God. —Thomas Merton

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