Eric D. Snider

Cop and a Half

(Written for a 2002 "Reviewer Rumble" tournament among eFilmCritic.com contributors.)

I think my rented VHS copy of "Cop and a Half" may have been faulty, for I thought I saw a scene in which Burt Reynolds and a young child actor were standing at the same toilet, peeing together, and then the moppet accidentally peed on Burt's foot and said, "Sorry." But surely this cannot have been contained within an actual motion picture, released for public viewing. Surely it is the product of my own sleepy imagination, and I ought to seek counseling for it.

Given that I have certainly, CERTAINLY misapprehended one of the film's scenes, perhaps I am not adequately equipped to review it. How do I know ANY of the film actually happened the way I remember it, when I have already demonstrated my recollections of it are fuzzy?

For example, can there really have been an instance where gangsters stuff a piece of chicken in a guy's mouth, then put tape over it to gag him, then send him off to his death in a warehouse -- all in full view of the aforementioned child, who looks on not in horror or panic but in excitement at witnessing a crime, for now he shall get to meet some real police officers? Surely THAT scene, with all its accompanying disturbing imagery and aftermath, cannot have made it past the discussion table.

Or perhaps there was no discussion table for "Cop and a Half" (or, as its onscreen title calls it, "Cop & 1/2"). Perhaps this movie turned out the way it did for the same reason most "family movies" turn out the way they do: It was made either by people who were never children or who have forgotten what it was like to be one. They have no concept of what makes children laugh, or how to speak to children, or what children will find entertaining.

I believe it is the former theory, that the filmmakers simply never were children. Take the director, for example, Henry Winkler. At one time, he was the coolest man in America, playing the Fonz on "Happy Days." Then, before you knew it, the show stopped being funny or popular, and then it ran for seven more years, and then it was canceled and everyone realized Henry Winkler was never actually all that cool to begin with, and we'd been duped. Is it possible Henry Winkler was never a human child, but came to earth as a full-grown product of Hollywood hype?

No, it's probably not possible; I'm sorry for suggesting it. "Cop and One-Half" has got me a bit addled. This is a film directly from hell, spawned by Satan himself and unleashed upon a wicked world as punishment from God for our allowing Burt Reynolds to continue his charade as a movie star. You will point to his critically acclaimed performance in "Boogie Nights," and then I will tell you to bite me. Did you see "The Crew"? Or "Meet Wally Sparks"? Or "Rent-a-Cop"? Well, I did. This man is not a movie star. This man is a bundle of white trash with human features that occasionally ambles onto film sets and cavorts in front of movie cameras. We ought not to be rewarding Mr. Reynolds; we ought to be medicating him, and keeping him away from society.

The movie is about a 9-year-old boy named Devon who wants to be a cop. This leads to mischief, as the time he is skulking about the schoolyard with a water pistol and accidentally squirts an innocent bystander 17 times (I counted) before realizing it's not the kid he sought to soak, but a teacher instead. (Some people would say this level of wrong-headedness would make Devon a prime candidate for the police force. I say no, because he stopped squirting the teacher before the teacher was dead.)

Devon lives with his grandmother, a nurse who frequently leaves him home alone while she works the night shift at the hospital. When a neighbor points out, accurately, that Grandma ought to be reported to Social Services, she is told to shut up, because in dumb family movies, the protagonists are always right, no matter what they do.

Anyway, Devon stumbles into a crime in progress and instantly knows more about a huge drug ring than the cops do. This makes him valuable, but the only way he'll give the cops the details he overheard is if they make him a cop. Since this movie takes place in a world where there are no insurance risks, the police comply and partner little Devon with Burt Reynolds' character, who of course hates kids.

I can relate. Devon is played by a lad named Norman D. Golden II, and I don't wish to sound churlish, but I wish unholy, fiery death upon him. His performance in "Cop Half" is annoying and broad, like he not only cannot act but is also unfamiliar with what acting even is. (Since "1/2 Cop," the only things he has appeared in, I suspect, are police lineups.) He is the most joyless and unfunny element of this joyless, unfunny movie. May he die a thousand times.

Most of the jokes in the film are nothing more than Devon saying things cops say, and we're supposed to find it funny because he's so young and small. Which means that if Burt Reynolds had been partnered with, say, a sandwich, the film would have worked just as well. Even better, maybe, because then Burt could have eaten the sandwich, and eating sandwiches is funny. And that urination scene almost certainly would have been eliminated, or at least greatly altered to allow for the physical differences between sandwiches and little boys. In fact, I just got a great idea for a movie....

Grade: F

Rated PG, mild profanity, dangerous situations

1 hr., 37 min.

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This item has 23 comments

  1. J. Wilson says:

    I feel sorry for people such as yourself. You have no idea of what the business is about. Seek God's help.

  2. J. Wilson says:

    You have to be one of those stupid white guys (like Rush L.) who want to appear bright but eventually the concensus learns that you are full of b.s. whose knowledge of anything is superficial. You really don't understand what this nation is about and what the framers of the constitution meant (you just learned something). You are still stuck on race. You idiot, America is not about race, it's a smoke screen to keep people like you unfocused. Real African Americans don't care about your kind calling them names and attempting to use whatever you can to undermind their success. I feel for you. I have some white friends and I've known some like you. You are a cancer. It's good God abases those who try and exalt themselves. You most likely never have good fortune because you are reaping what you sow. Now there, I just helped you.

  3. G says:

    Wow! How did this rant stem from a review of 15-year-old review of a crappy movie?

  4. Ben C. says:

    I fail to see how race is an issue here. Is it purely because an African American actor was in the movie? Can we not hate anything that an African American is in? Sounds more to me like J. Wilson is a racist with his racist name calling (ie. stupid white guys). I hope Eric responds to this.

  5. Vadiv says:

    J. Wilson, you are a total retard. Please rid this world of your raging stupidity.

  6. Argus Skyhawk says:

    Does anyone suppose J. Wilson was trying to respond to a different article? Aside from being totally mystified by where his angry rant came from, I am wondering what "business" he is referring to in his first comment.

  7. Dave says:

    I assumed he meant the movie business. Evidently Eric doesn't know what the business of making motion pictures is all about because he hated "Cop and a Half" fifteen years ago.

    Or maybe Wilson was talking about the sandwich business...

    " 'Eating sandwiches is funny', huh? I'll show him..."

  8. David Manning says:

    Gee, I really hope this ends up in that "Stupid comments" file Eric D. Snider wrote about in his blog.

  9. jb says:

    "This is a film directly from hell, spawned by Satan himself and unleashed upon a wicked world as punishment from God for our allowing Burt Reynolds to continue his charade as a movie star........This man is a bundle of white trash with human features that occasionally ambles onto film sets and cavorts in front of movie cameras. We ought not to be rewarding Mr. Reynolds; we ought to be medicating him, and keeping him away from society."

    I'll never be able to watch a movie with Burt Reynolds again and keep a straight face.

  10. joshua says:

    the kid was way better than Reynolds.but it aint that bad for reynolds.i mean he was able to keep his humour and beating up bobo was funny.

  11. jo says:

    J wilson....You're on your own brother......i'm black and i DARE you to find a crappier movie...i'm sure there ARE crappier movies, but if there was say...a top ten list...i'm betting this is like three or four.......this movie sucked!!!!! The child spoke like a retard and Burt Reynolds really has pulled a major scam on humanity...he has convinced them he can act. this must be some sort of sorcery......I agree.....that movie bites. It's atrocious to watch and i cringe everytime the child says a line.....my boyfriend found it funny.......needless to say....i'm taking a real close look at HIM........

  12. Lettie says:

    Okay, the movie wasn't wonderful. And Burt Reynolds - well, he sucks. But the reviewer went a little overboard - . I suspect that he may have issues of his own.
    Take this line ----
    "Since "1/2 Cop," the only things he has appeared in, I suspect, are police lineups."
    Hello!? Can you be any more racist? Would this reviewer had said this if the kid were white? I don't think so.

    I have to stick up for the little boy. He was the only good thing in the movie. He wasn't a trained actor, but that's what made it amusing, dare I say it adorable? Nothing like the over-rehearsed performances by child actors today, - Dakota Fanning anyone? I like it when a child actor seems like a child, not a mini-adult actor. I miss those days.

  13. Ryan says:

    I would just like to point out how the author of this "movie review" wishes a "unholy, fiery death" to Norman D. Goldman II (Devon's actor,) and also wishes that "he die a thousand times" for no reason other than he feels that it was lackluster performance.

    I am not sure if you realize this, Eric D. Snider, but you lost all credibility when you wished such horrible things on a human being, simply because you feel they can not act. You should be ashamed of yourself, and your comments, and I pray that you grow up one day. I hope I never have the displeasure of meeting you, and am sorry that I even stubbled across your website.

  14. osrevad says:

    I thought this review was amazing. In fact, the only thing that amazes me more than this review is the comments that followed it.

  15. Rob D. says:

    Ryan- it is obvious that Eric is kidding and doesn't want the actor who played the kid to die. Just like he was kidding about Henry Winkler never being a human child. He is also joking when he said the film came from hell and was spawned by Satan himself. The point is that if Eric made those comments in a serious review, I would agree with you. This whole review is filled with Eric joking around and exaggerating. How can you take only those comments seriously and ignore the rest of the review?

  16. Donald says:

    The "police lineups" comment may have been in questionable taste, but let's not forget that many white actors whose careers have derailed, or were never "railed" to begin with, have appeared in police lineups, and mugshots, and courtrooms, and what-have-you. The only thing that makes the comment questionable is the fact that the actor is black, but nothing in the review makes note of that. If you had never seen the movie or the promotional photo on this page, you would have had no idea what ethnicity the child is. In order to accuse Eric of racism, we, the readers, must take note of the actor's race, and attach a stereotype to it. That is irony.

  17. Tim says:

    I wish an unholy, fiery death to Ryan and that he dies a thousand times, not just for have such a disgustingly wonderbread name, but particularly for being such a dim-witted twit that you would actually waste your fake rage on a very funny movie review.

  18. The Franchise says:

    I'm also not convinced that the police line-up joke was racially based--not when one of the stereotypical attributes of former child actors is legal trouble. I.e., Lohan's return to prison.

  19. Eric D. Snider says:

    I am also sorry that Ryan "stubbled" across my website, which is normally clean-shaven. And I'm sorry that Lettie assumed the joke about being in a police lineup was racially motivated. It was, as others have pointed out, a reference to the unfortunate fate of many child actors; this particular actor's race had no bearing on it. In fact, I never mentioned anyone's race anywhere in the review: It didn't come up until the angry commenters mentioned it. "Cop and & a One-Half" is a terrible movie, and the fact that I don't like black people has nothing to do with it.

  20. Jacob says:

    Norman D. Golden II now goes by the name Enormus and is, apparently, some sort of hippity-hop musician. I wonder how angry certain commenters would have been if Eric had made a loser rapper joke instead of a police line-up joke?

  21. Sarah Clark says:

    My husband was very near suicide when my kids took to watching this movie several times a day a couple of years ago. If I had to choose between the actors dying and my spouse dying, I would wish horrible fiery deaths on every single one of them...a lot. Has anyone stopped to think that Eric's violent comments were merely acts of self defense? Well, have you?

    (The rest of the story is that the VHS tape containing this alleged movie died a horrible fiery death under the cover of darkness, and 18 months of therapy have gotten hubby back to his normal self. Okay, he still wakes up screaming sometimes, but I don't think that can be helped.)

  22. Derek says:

    The chicken-gagging scene gave me nightmares as a kid

  23. InkStain says:

    I don't think anyone has yet noticed the final sentence in Eric's comment (#19). Your sense of humour's priceless Eric; this is why I keep coming back to this site.

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