Dumb is a word you use as a kid, but it’s the only way to describe Quentin Dupieux’s latest, WRONG COPS. (Especially compared to his insanely brilliant RUBBER, and the wacky and loveable WRONG.)
BAD LIEUTENANT. TRAINING DAY. THE DEPARTED. RAMPART. SERPICO. The list of dirty cop movies is quite lengthy. There are even shows like RENO 911! with incredibly moronic cops doing incredibly moronic things, but it’s incredibly funny. WRONG COPS is trash cinema full of dirty cops doing weird, moronic, and dirty things all at the same time. Its goal is to make you laugh at things you’re not supposed to laugh at and perhaps make you question what the fuck you are watching, but falls flat on its ugly face. It’s “weird for the sake of being weird,” if you will. Dupieux worked backwards with this film from his previous work. Again, to really bring it home, it’s dumb.
Here’s the thing — by now when you go in to see a Dupieux film, you already expect an unrealistic world of chaos and all the Hollywood formulas have been flushed down the toilet to rot in the sewer pipes. Dupieux is, by definition, an auteur (fancy word for “Makes cool weird movies”) and a master at picking the right leads to play the perfect level of awkwardness he wants. Our main character and cop is Duke, so fearlessly played by Mark Burnham, who also played a cop in WRONG, too. Burnham’s Duke gets by from selling weed stuffed and duct taped dead rats. He’s obsessed with fast European techno (made by Dupieux himself, but as his real DJ name Mr. Oizo), being in his underwear, and not doing his job.
Shit hits the fan when Duke patronizes a sissy punk named David (played as awkwardly as possible by Marilyn Manson) who’s listening to what he thinks is shit music. So Duke takes (kidnaps) David to his house, strips down to his underwear, and blasts fast Euro bangers he loves to listen to. But David escapes and when Duke shoots at him, he misses and kills a guy who’s watering his lawn. Then Duke enlists help from his brainless partner Shirley (Arden Myrin, MADTV) and another (kind of cop, I guess? Detective?) Sunshine (Steve Little, EASTBOUND & DOWN) to help him dispose of this dead body. If you’ve seen WRONG or RUBBER, it won’t surprise you when said dead body is sometimes dead, and sometimes helping another cop (Eric Judor, another from WRONG) make a techno record. Oh, and there’s also a side story of another cop (played by TIM AND ERIC’S AWESOME SHOW GREAT JOB! ’s Eric Wareheim) who humps cars and holds women at gunpoint until they’ll show him their boobs. If none of this makes any sense, then Dupieux has done his job making WRONG COPS exactly how he wanted to, and I’ve done mine explaining it.
What sets WRONG COPS apart from RUBBER and WRONG is the story structure — to be very clear, WRONG COPS is plotless. There’s still a coherent story somewhere in RUBBER and WRONG. And both films have a sense of purpose — it’s there, you just have to look close. If an official synopsis wasn’t written for WRONG COPS, you’d probably think it was made by a too cool for school college “filmmaker” who gained access to a camera, accidentally mixed his cereal with speed, and made a movie. WRONG COPS is Dupieux’s proverbial toilet — he dumps all of his shit ideas in it. (And It gets worse before it’s intolerable.) Almost every filmmaker has their CITIZEN KANE, but they also have their BATTLEFIELD EARTH. Dupieux just made the worst movie of his career to date. And I never thought that would be possible. Sigh.