Wrong Cops

Wrong Cops

2014, NR, 83 min. Directed by Quentin Dupieux. Starring Mark Burnham, Eric Judor, Steve Little, Marilyn Manson, Eric Wareheim, Grace Zabriskie, Arden Myrin, Ray Wise, Jennifer Blanc.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Jan. 17, 2014

French musician-filmmaker-writer-editor Dupieux has followed up his 2012 feature Wrong with yet more lo-fi absurdism, but when compared to the mesmerizingly surreal vibe of his 2010 debut, Rubber, the quasi-existential, non-sequiturial yuks to be found here are in drastically short supply. Rubber, a film about a sentient tire, the meaning of life, and the mind-warping unreality of cinema, is a movie that literally went places. Wrong Cops merely idles around a few ill-defined, vaguely humorous situations. It’s tonally weird and totally forgettable.

Dupieux first made madcap waves with his 1999 electro-dance track “Flat Beat.” Accompanied by a video featuring a mangy yellow puppet dubbed Flat Eric, the giddy earworm of a song was a massive hit in the EU, and Flat Eric dolls became de rigueur, night-out accessories across the Continent. (Disappointingly, Dupieux’s talents never made a dent in pop culture on this side of the Atlantic. C’est la vie.) After that French one-off, Dupieux more or less vanished until Rubber blew up on the festival circuit, including at Austin’s Fantastic Fest.

Wrong Cops follows a loose-knit group of L.A.P.D. officers as they sleazily betray the public trust and generally run amok, each tethered to his (or her, in the case of Myrin’s Officer Holmes) particular fetishistic fever dream. Eric Wareheim of the comedy team Tim and Eric is Officer de Luca, a sloven loudmouth who drifts about doing essentially nothing, while the more engaged Officer Duke (Burnham) sells dope that’s secreted in dead rats to the neighborhood kids. Then there’s Officer Rough (Judor, nailing what turns out to be the best – and most effectively sympathetic – character in the film). Obsessed with achieving an as-yet-nonexistent musical career, he perpetually plays a 60-second loop of Mr. Oizo’s crappy-catchy electro to anyone who’ll listen. (In an extremely Dupieux-ian touch, Officer Rough also sports an eye patch and a colossal growth sprouting from his forehead.) There’s $20K in mystery cash, a dying man, death by trowel, and Marilyn Manson – who cameos as a young kid perpetually hassled by the Man. (Kinda cool, that.)

It’s really just a tortuous series of blackout sketches hung together with the flimsiest of threads. If there’s some sort of philosophical drift going on here, the audience I watched it with missed it completely. Admittedly, Wrong Cops might be the perfect film to zone out to while smoking weed out of a dead Rattus norvegicus, but dude, that’s just plain wrong.

See "Two Wrongs Make a Right," January 17, for our interview with Quentin Dupieux.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Quentin Dupieux
Two Wrongs Make a Right
Two Wrongs Make a Right
Quentin Dupieux is back with 'Wrong Cops'

Richard Whittaker, Jan. 17, 2014

So 'Wrong,' but So Right
So 'Wrong,' but So Right
Quentin Dupieux on plots, puzzles, and police

Richard Whittaker, March 29, 2013

More Quentin Dupieux
DVDanger: The Story of Cinema, Part Two
DVDanger: The Story of Cinema, Part Two
The Editor and Reality, movies about movies

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 9, 2015

Doing 'Wrong' Right
Doing 'Wrong' Right
Double Dupieux? Don't mind if we do.

Monica Riese, March 20, 2013

More Quentin Dupieux Films
Wrong
Quentin Dupieux, the director of Rubber, is back with another film brimming with encounters with the bizarre and surreal.

Leah Churner, March 29, 2013

Rubber
Rubber is a movie about a sentient, telekinetic, and homicidal tire on a rampage.

Marc Savlov, April 1, 2011

More by Marc Savlov
The Dead Don't Die
After the vampiric bite of Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch shambles through this zombie flick

June 14, 2019

Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Who will win this epic new battle royal as Godzilla faces King Ghidorah?

May 31, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Wrong Cops, Quentin Dupieux, Mark Burnham, Eric Judor, Steve Little, Marilyn Manson, Eric Wareheim, Grace Zabriskie, Arden Myrin, Ray Wise, Jennifer Blanc

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle