10 Worst Buddy-Cop Duos Who Were Terrible At Their Jobs


Filming for the long-awaited Beverly Hills Cop IV has finally begun in August 2022. Eddie Murphy is returning to star and Taylour Paige, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Paul Reiser are all slated to appear as well. The film will be releasing on Netflix and will hopefully be another great addition to the buddy-cop subgenre.

This subgenre encompasses a vast array of cop duos, ranging from the highly effective pairs to the wildly incompetent who probably never should have graduated in the first place. There are some pairings in police films that stretch the idea of what would even be legal in the real world. And the cops in these films are defined more by their incompetence that their successful arrests.


10/10 Chris Danson And P. K. Highsmith

The Other Guys

The “Other Guys” in The Other Guys refers to the cop duo who isn’t the brash, overconfident pairing of Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson who play Danson and Highsmith. These two cops are widely loved by the city and the department despite the fact they commit an incredible amount of property damage and don’t seem to actually do anything.

Related: The 10 Dirtiest TV Cops Of All Time

Danson and Highsmith are parodies of the 80s action movies where the police seem to make more trouble than they actually stop with their belief that they’re indestructible and infallible. This comes back to bite them early in the movie when Danson and Highsmith “aim for the bushes” to chase after some criminals and end up jumping to their deaths.

9/10 Sarah Ashburn And Shannon Mullins

The Heat

The unlikely pairing of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat works from a comedy standpoint but is much less successful as a police film. Bullock and McCarthy are supposed to be opposites who work well together, but they end up just rubbing up against each other’s personalities in the worst way.

McCarthy is a bully and Sandra Bullock is unlikable in her role so when they end interrogating criminals their combined efforts rarely work. They arrogantly decide that they can infiltrate a major drug dealers hideout on their own and end up getting captured and briefly tortured, surely they could have used their FBI connections to avoid the situation entirely.

8/10 Justin Miller And Ryan O’Malley

Let’s Be Cops

The only thing worse than incompetent cops in a buddy-cop movie is incompetent people pretending to be cops. Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. star in Let’s Be Cops as two friends who pretend to be police officers just for a day and end up keeping the uniforms on for longer.

Related: 10 Obscure (But Great) Buddy-Cop Movies, According To Reddit

The “cops” commit a major sin through the course of their policing because they do the work for the sole purpose of filling their own lack of purpose with policing activities. They break a number of policing rules throughout the course of the film including when Damon Wayans Jr. smokes crystal meth and gets in a fight while undercover.

7/10 Nicholas Angel And Danny Butterman

Hot Fuzz

In Hot Fuzz, Nicholas Angel, played by Simon Pegg, may actually be a hyper competent cop, he is just far too passionate and obsessive to actually be good at the majority of police work, which is having an amicable relationship with other officers and the populace. Danny Butterman, played by Nick Frost, on the other hand is very well-liked but completely incompetent as police work goes.

While the pair eventually end up taking down the murderous town council at the end of the film, they still allow plenty of innocents to be murdered before that happens. The fact that it is all happening under their noses speaks to the fact that they may not actually be that talented at police-work.

6/10 David Starsky And Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson

Starsky And Hutch

Based on the television show of the same name, Starsky & Hutch stars Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as the iconic undercover cops. Stiller plays the by-the-book Starsky while Wilson is the street-smart Hutch. They’re both paired together for recent mistakes they’ve made while in pursuit of criminals and the film shows that they don’t stop their antics just because they are reprimanded.

The pair accidentally ingest cocaine that was supposed to be evidence, accidentally shoot a pony and their captain, and in the finale, run their car into the sea in an ill-advised ramp jump. They may catch the villains in the end, but it’s not before causing massive mayhem and head-aches for their police department.

5/10 Slater And Michaels


In Superbad, when McLovin gets punched in the face during a liquor store robbery, Officers Michaels and Slater make their appearance. Bill Hader and Seth Rogen play a pair of wildly incompetent cops who can’t even handle a police report correctly, they are uncomfortable even referring to the skin color of the thief. They’re bad at getting information and keeping people calm, and it only gets worse.

The cops take McLovin for a ride along, and they shoot guns at stop signs, drink on the job and while they drive, and they fake McLovin’s arrest just to make him look cool. In one of his most rewatchable roles, Seth Rogen isn’t even in good enough shape to run after Michael Cera which would have been their only successful policing the whole night.

4/10 Marcus Anthony Copeland And Kevin Copeland

White Chicks

White Chicks was an ill-advised film when it came out, and it has really only aged poorly since then. Shawn and Marlon Wayans star as FBI agents who are so incompetent at their regular job, they’re demoted to chauffeurs for a pair of socialite sisters to the Hamptons for a fashion-show weekend.

When they get into a car crash and the sisters refuse to attend the event, the brothers decide to dress up like the white women and attend the show themselves. The pair get themselves embroiled in relationships and friendships that have nothing to do with the reason they are at the event, and it is only by coincidence that they stumble across a kidnapping plot that they eventually end up solving.

3/10 Inspector Lee And James Carter

Rush Hour

The mismatched duo of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in Rush Hour may be hilarious to watch but their policing leaves a lot to be desired. For one thing, the audience already knows Chris Tucker’s character is not the top of his department, the reason he has to work with Jackie Chan’s character in the first place is because he botched a sting operation.

Related: 10 Oldest Buddy Cop Movies

Carter and Lee are asked to stay out of the investigation and cannot even handle that, embroiling themselves in a kidnapping/ransom plot. Carter even accidentally sets up a ransom drop without trying and his incompetence leads to a group of agents to raid a warehouse were they are caught in a planned explosion.

2/10 Morton Schmidt And Greg Jenko

21 Jump Street

The 21 Jump Street gang probably should have been removed from their undercover positions long before they had the chance to arrest the drug gang they had been after the whole movie. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star in one of their best movies as characters who cannot even remember the Miranda rights until the final scene.

Schmidt and Jenko provide alcohol and marijuana for underage teens, have romantic relationships despite being explicitly told not to, and Jenko even punches out a student on the first day of undercover work. While the rest of the 21 Jump Street undercover division is successfully completing their assignments, this duo is causing highway car disasters and being removed from their case.

1/10 Vermont State Police

Super Troopers

While the State Troopers in Super Troopers are not a duo exactly, the five police officers are as close as any patrol can be. Their camaraderie is mostly due to the fact that they don’t actually do much work and instead spend time playing pranks on each other and teenage motorists.

They are so incompetent at their jobs that it’s quickly revealed their department is threatening to shut down due to low productivity. Their response to actually being forced to close down is vandalism and their go-to tactic when dealing with adversity is starting a brawl. It’s not the most well-trained bunch of police officers.

Next: 10 Best Buddy Movies, According To Reddit


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