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Cop and a Half

Rated PG, 97 min. Directed by Henry Winkler. Starring Burt Reynolds, Ray Sharkey, Ruby Dee, Holland Taylor, Norman D. Golden Ii.

REVIEWED By Louis Black, Fri., April 9, 1993

Most of you will have to take my word for this, because only the utterly irrational will find a reason to see this movie, but Cop and a Half is actually stupider than its basic premise. This is quite a feat considering the premise is that a cop-crazy, eight-year-old orphan, (Golden II), living with his grandmother (Dee), witnesses a murder and he'll only talk if they let him be cop for a day. And they do -- partnering him with grizzly burnt-up Burt Reynolds, a Dirty Harry gone to seed, who, of course, hates kids. A relationship develops. But, you see, that's not the stupidest part. No, it is Ray Sharkey's bizarre turn as a gang leader who wishes he were a Fifties singer along the lines of Dion (of Dion and the Belmonts fame). Given that Sharkey usually overacts when he walks down the hall, the semi-subtle way he chooses to play this character makes the film particularly soulless. Tone is the problem here; there is not one, but several. Director Winkler is way too knee-jerk liberal to just let go and let it rip. The film is comedy, drama and action film, all done equally ineptly. See Kindergarten Cop if you want to see an action hero surrounded by cute kids done right, which, when you think about it, isn't saying much.
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