Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites share forbidden knowledge in The Giver.

Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites share forbidden knowledge in The Giver.

REEL REVIEWS: Dystopian teenagers vs. pretend cops

Our reviewers provide their thoughts on The Giver and Let's Be Cops

  • Aug. 25, 2014 7:00 a.m.

The Giver, (Jeff Bridges) has the responsibility of passing the secret history of the world to the Receiver (Brenton Thwaites). If the Receiver can handle the truth he will go on to become The Giver and use his wisdom to advise the Elders of the Community. The Community is closed off and no one may travel outside the boundary.

When the Receiver learns of what was sacrificed to achieve the apparent utopia he’s to help govern, he decides to reveal his knowledge to everyone: While it may be true that a less emotional society has fewer problems with pain and suffering, it also loses some joy, love and understanding.

The Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) is against the revealing of past memories and will stop the Receiver at all cost.

I’m just glad there wasn’t a sporting event attached to The Giver. This is the third of four films this year featuring teens living in societies that are a bummer. The Giver, like the other dystopic movies, has an individual flexing his or her individuality to facilitate change. Unlike the other movies, our hero Jonas, the Receiver, is tested philosophically, rather than physically.

The Giver is more about ideas than action, as such it might have remained a better book. However, it is an interesting, artistic movie and much more entertaining than our next film, Let’s Be Cops.

Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) are 30-year-old best friends, living in Los Angeles, going nowhere fast. Ryan is living off residuals from a herpes commercial and milking a “college football injury.” Justin is a soft-spoken video game programmer that can’t get his own product released because his bosses ignore him.

Embarrassed when they show up to a masquerade party dressed in convincing cop costumes, the pair discover that everyone believes they are actual officers. Quickly acquiring a taste for the power of the uniform, Ryan and Justin decide to be cops and take it to ridiculous extremes. They purchase a car and trick it out, LAPD style. They start responding to calls and eventually become central to solving a neighbourhood case involving gangster heavies.

Somehow they manage to do all this without making me laugh. I smiled a couple times. There was a levity to the relationship of Ryan and Justin that I enjoyed. But Let’s Be Cops is just a silly movie, glamourizing the police in unhealthy ways: the boys go where they please, get into the VIP room, do drugs, gamble, pick up girls, etc. Ryan is especially juvenile in his behaviour with reluctant Justin unable to resist.

Despite having Andy Garcia in a small role and a very likeable performance by Rob Riggle (as a real cop), Let’s Be Cops is a disposable buddy comedy, heavy on the buddy. The comedy is sparse and pubescent. There’s swearing, sexism and homophobia, but no nudity. The film didn’t offend me, but then again I’m not an impressionable 14-year-old boy.

I give The Giver 3 missed doses out of 5.

I give Let’s Be Cops 1 pair of mirrored shades out of 5.