Earl and Hank have only one thing in common: they're both L.A.P.D. rejects. One just got kicked out of the force--the other can't even get in. After confronting each other on opposite sides of the law, during a traffic stop that escalates out of control, these two luckless individuals end up partnered as lowly security guards. Despite being damned to the lowest rung of the law enforcement ladder, Earl and Hank uncover a sophisticated smuggling operation led by Nash and his band of thugs. When Earl and Hank get their hands on some hot property, they go on the run from, first, the bad guys, then, the L.A.P.D.--led by Lt. Washington and Detective McDuff. What these two unlikely partners do to law enforcement is a crime, but they just might save the day. That is, if they don't kill each other first.
This loud, moronic interracial buddy action comedy might have been an early candidate for worst movie of the year. Steve Zahn is an ill-tempered disgraced cop; Martin Lawrence is an irrepressibly annoying would-be cop. Even though they hate each other, they band together to foil the bad guys. The film has one or two funny moments, but these seem more the result of the laws of probability than of any inspiration on the part of the actors or the filmmakers. Mr. Lawrence's approach to comedy is to keep talking in the hope that he will either wear down the audience's resistance or (more rarely) say something that's actually funny. A. O. Scott
2003-01-17 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of National Security