The 7 Most Incompetent Movie Cops

Guy Code” tackles (figuratively) cops tonight on MTV2, which got us thinking about police on the big screen, specifically the kind of cops that  definitely shouldn’t be cops. We’re talking about the most inept, buffoonish, disorderly and least-qualified-to-wear-the-badge kind of cops, not the corrupt kind (Rosie Perez in “Pineapple Express,” Matt Damon in “The Departed“) or the type who uses nontraditional means to clean up criminals (“Lethal Weapon,” “Bad Boys“). This isn’t to say we don’t like these officers of the law … they’re just destructive and in most cases, horrible cops.

“Super Troopers”

Photo: Fox Searchlight

Precinct: Vermont State Troopers based out of Spurbury, Vermont.
Egregious moment: Also one of the film’s funniest moments, Mac (Steve Lemme) and Foster (Paul Soter) pull a guy over for speeding and Foster attempts to break the Cat Game record for most “Meows” uttered during a single stop.
Telling quote: “Do I look like a cat to you, boy? Am I jumpin’ around all nimbly bimbly from tree to tree? Am I drinking milk from a saucer? Do you see me eating mice.” — Foster to the Cat Game victim.

The “Police Academy” Series

Photo: Warner Bros.

Department: The tagline for the first “Police Academy” film (of seven) says it all about the inept department in an unnamed American city: “The new police recruits. Call them slobs. Call them jerks. Call them gross. … Just don’t call them when you’re in trouble.”
Egregious moment:  During the recruits’ first taste of action at a downtown riot, a wanted criminal steals officers Blankes’ and Copeland’s guns. The pair escapes the criminal but ends up at the Blue Oyster Bar where they have to dance with other men, dressed as cops.
Telling quote: “We’ve got you because you are the worst people here. You are “D” Squad; “D” for “dirtbags.” When I say: “Hey, dirtbags!” that means you.” — Lt. Thaddeus Harris to the recruits.

“Dirty Work”

Photo: MGM

Cops: Mitch (Norm MacDonald) and Sam (Artie Lang) are professional pranksters, who pretend to be cops to exact revenge on some frat boys who beat them up in a bar fight.
Egregious moment: Mitch and Sam call up the frat guys to tip them off that fake cops are going around to different houses pretending to be cops.
Telling quote: “Hello, real cops?” — Mitch addressing real cops when he calls in a complaint about the frat house.

“The Other Guys”

Photo: Columbia Picures

Cops:  NYPD Detectives Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) and Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell), who are slightly more competent than most of the others here.
Egregious moment: During what Hoitz planned as a good cop/bad cop routine for a crooked billionaire, Gamble goes bats*** insane in what he thought was a bad cop/bad cop ploy.
Telling quote:  “Did you yell ‘America’ when you hit the accelerator?” — Hoitz to Gamble after Gamble crashes into a crime scene.

“Reno 911!: Miami”

Photo: 20th Century Fox

Precinct: Reno’s police department, obviously, in a movie based on the TV series.
Egregious moment: So many to choose from but it’s hard to ignore Deputy Wiegel’s (Kerri Kenney) epic gaffe when she fires a missile from a Marine helicopter at a squad car with the corrupt mayor (Patton Oswalt).
Telling quote: “This is the stupidest group of people I’ve ever worked with who are not legally retarded.” — Lt. Dangle about his crew.


Photo: Sony Pictures

Cops: Officers Slater and Michaels are more self-aware than the other cops but extremely reckless and very willing to destroy department property.
Egregious moment: The glorious “Panama” scene after Slater and Michaels have McLovin sign a statement swearing that after they rescued him from a mugging, a crackhead stole the officers’ cruiser and “Did God knows what with it.”  Then Slater performs the “upward spiraling pigtail” donut move, after which they shoot and torch the car.
Telling quote: “One time we found semen, we got really excited, took it back to the lab, turned out it was Michaels’ semen.” — Officer Slater.

“The Naked Gun” Series

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Cop: The late, great Leslie Nielsen as Detective Frank Drebin, a comically inept cop who attempts to foil a plot to kill the Queen Elizabeth II of England in the series’ first installment, “Files of Police Squad!”
Egregious moment: Basically the entire trilogy, but we’re inclined to point out a scene where Drebin crashes outside the police station, when the car rolls away and catches fire after Drebin shoots at it and nearly runs over a crowd of bystander.
Telling quote: “I’m sorry! I can’t hear ya! Don’t fire the gun while you’re talking!” — Drebin to a guy shooting at him.

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Brett Smiley (@brettsmiley) just queued the entire “Naked Gun” series on Netflix.