||Cop Out establishes its movie lineage right away, with a slow-motion toe-to-head tilt up, set to the Beastie Boys' "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn," of black-cop/white-cop buddies Jimmy and Paul swaggering stone-faced toward the camera. Director/editor Kevin Smith (who notably didn't write the Cop Out script; this is the Clerks auteur's first feature-length work for hire) immortalizes his heroes as stock crime-flick badasses in their very first frame...So far, so middling -- until Smith complicates matters by following that shot with an opening sequence that sends Cop Out swerving into smarter territory: Determined to prove his bad-cop "acting" chops to a skeptical Jimmy (Bruce Willis), Paul (Tracy Morgan) interrogates a perp by subjecting him to an unrelenting marathon of movie character impersonations. Beginning with Al Pacino in Heat and moving, logically, through In the Heat of the Night and Training Day, Paul's "homage" (which he pronounces "homm-ige") eventually jumps off the rails. Jimmy, on the other side of the interrogation-room glass, can only gape at his partner's increasingly non sequitur charade: "Dirty Dancing? Star Wars? Everything on cable?!?"...Jimmy, a swinging-dick career NYPD cop threatened by his ex-wife's young, rich new husband (Jason Lee), tries to sell a priceless, long-treasured baseball card so he can pick up the tab for his daughter's wedding. That plan immediately goes horribly awry, thanks to interventions from Seann William Scott and the scene-swiping Guillermo Diaz as a textbook Mexican movie gangster with a baseball obsession. Jimmy and Paul have no choice but to Break All the Rules...Like most of Smith's movies, from Clerks to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back to Zach and Miri Make a Porno, Cop Out tracks a small arc of maturation for dudes who filter their own lives through popular culture. There was a sincere love letter to the transformative power of filmmaking baked into Porno, but its impact was diluted by what felt like strained overtures to the Apatow audience. On the contrary, Cop Out works as a love letter to film fandom, and, amid the ample violence and genitalia jokes, its strength is its sincerity. Working with a full-on studio budget for the first time in his decade-and-a-half career, Smith is still making movies about guys just like him. It may be masturbatory, but it's also some kind of creative integrity.