National Security

This is a Martin Lawrence movie. Need one say more? Everybody knows exactly what to expect from Lawrence (Runteldat, Black Knight), who uses the same humor, same jokes, and same mannerisms in every movie he has ever been in. People either like him or they don't. National Security even mines the same buddy cop/black guy and white guy motif that Lawrence used in more than a couple of his older movies. It's tiring to most people, but reassuring to some knowing that they can rely on him for a consistent dose of stupidity. This movie pairs him with Steve Zahn (Stuart Little 2, Riding in Cars With Boys) whose output lately has been wildly divergent. Lawrence and Zahn are Earl and Hank, two security guards who happen to hate each other. Yet, they somehow still manage to save the day.

Screenwriters Jay Scherick and David Ronn (who wrote I Spy and Serving Sara together; an awful resume) need to flesh out this concept a little more. See, Zahn was a real cop once, until he came in contact with Earl, whose antics got him kicked out of the Academy. On a stop, a bystander videotaped Hank trying to prevent a bee from stinging Earl. However, from afar, it looked like a vicious beating. Hank went to jail for six months, and after, the only job he could find was security. Hank is also on the trail of the men who killed his partner. Somehow, this search and Earl converge, and the two reluctantly team up to solve the crime. Yawn.

It doesn't help that the script is a little worse than usual. Scherick and Ronn spend too much time setting up how Earl and Hank meet in the first place. What they forgot was logic. The trial against Hank seems to have no grounds at all in reality. It was supposed to be funny but is more bewildering than anything else. Part of the success hinges on the interaction between Lawrence and Zahn, and it doesn't work very well.

National Security just goes through the motions, with director Dennis Dugan (Saving Silverman, Big Daddy). Lawrence never shuts up, which continually gets Earl and Hank into more trouble. Explosions. And possibly the most blatant case of product placement in recent memory. All National Security requires of Zahn is to look constipated. Hank is actually trying to hold in his anger. See the irony? Earl caused him to lose his job, and now they are working together! Funny, right? No.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 31 minutes, Rated PG-13 for violence, language, and some sensuality.

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