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This week, there will be no news, only trailers! Kevin Smith has always written his own movies, until now. When he signed on to direct A Couple of Dicks, for Warner Bros., eventually retitled Cop Out, the project was an interesting move, if nothing else. Could Smith work purely as a director for hire and channel the energy of Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan into something that might resemble a film he’d make on his own? The just-released trailer isn’t making much of an argument for ‘yes’. Check it out after the break.

This is one unfunny trailer. The “smarter than Batman” line got a giggle, and…yeah. That’s about it. Though not generally a fan of Smith’s I liked Zack and Miri and was hoping this might end up being a turning point for the director.

But what I see here looks like a bad in-character 30 Rock sketch where Tracy Jordan is allowed to go way overboard and run roughshod over everything. Willis looks mostly disengaged and Morgan is mugging like he took acting lessons from Jackie Chan. I really hope the final film is a lot better than this implies. If not, it could be ideal double-feature material with Hollywood Homicide. (Now I need to track down the A Couple of Dicks script and see how much of this was on the page.)

If anything, this could be a visual step forward for Smith. He’s joked before about the fact that his films are pretty flat, and this certainly looks more like a studio movie. But it had a studio backing, so that’s not a serious surprise. And really, I’d rather have the material work well than see some gloss.

What isn’t highlighted here? The fact that Kevin Smith directed. The trailer opens by jokingly invoking the names of “acclaimed police dramas” like Dirty Harry, Training Day and The Departed, and uses music and image to suggest echoes of The Dark Knight. Not until the small credit cards at the end do we see Smith’s name, and then it flies by pretty quick.

Check the quick embed below, and see the trailer in much better HD at Apple.

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