Wrong Cops

Cult filmmaker Quentin Dupieux looks to secure his wacked-out B-movie credentials with this flailingly low-brow affair which might hit the spot for Dupieux fans out for some midnight screening action – and also snag some genre festival slots – but is likely too trashy and criminally unfunny to work with general audiences.

The casting of Marilyn Manson as a baseball-wearing teen (odd in itself) and cameos from cult-film veterans such as Grace Zabriskie, Eric Roberts and Ray Wise helps give the film occasional spark.

He is going for low-budget street smarts and aiming to shock whenever possible – here we have drug-dealing cops who use guns to get girls to strip as well as blackmail former porn stars – and while the film has a certain energy (and thankfully only runs 81 minutes) there isn’t really a story to link the elements together. This may be linked to the fact that parts of Wrong Cops were shown as shorts before being spliced together for a feature world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival.

The casting of Marilyn Manson as a baseball-wearing teen (odd in itself) and cameos from cult-film veterans such as Grace Zabriskie, Eric Roberts and Ray Wise helps give the film occasional spark, but the leads play it all a bit too seriously to really crack the humour.

At the heart of the film are the addled antics of cops Duke (Mark Burnham) who sells weed hidden away in the bodies of rats (and when rats run out he opts to use fish) and Renato (Eric Wareheim) who uses his gun to try and get girls to strip for him. Also part of their corrupt posse is Renato’s cop partner Shirley (Arden Myrin) who gets involved in a blackmail plot to extort money from one of Duke’s drugs clients Sunshine (Steve Little) when she finds out he was a former porn star.

The film flails around struggling to get way-out and culty laughs, but in truth it never really gets going and may have been better left as a series of shorts. As usual, Dupieux is a real one-man-band (he also scores the film under his musician name of Mr Oizo) which clearly accounts for why he can get away with so much. It is oddly admirable that self-aware, lowbrow, semi-underground films like this can still be made, but it would have worked better if more extreme (in terms of sex, blood or laughs) rather than never really offering-up too much of anything.