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'Day Shift': Best buddy cop movies you can watch similar to Netflix action comedy

Buddy cop comedies are a mainstay of the genre, but which ones should you watch before 'Day Shift' debuts
'Hot Fuzz' and 'The Nice Guys' (IMDb)
'Hot Fuzz' and 'The Nice Guys' (IMDb)

Buddy cop comedies are a long-standing tradition that has remained wildly popular over the years. On August 12, Netflix will add another to the list with the release of 'Day Shift,' starring Jamie Foxx. So, which ones are the finest to try before the film's premiere?

There's something about the clichés and genre that makes it so charming. Perhaps it's the frequently excellent chemistry between the primary characters/actors. Perhaps it's the rare combination of comedy, character work, and an interesting crime plot. Perhaps it's the creative action that can be discovered within. In any case, many wonderful buddy cop movies have been filmed throughout the years. Of course, there have been innumerable flops, but they aren't remembered. We've compiled a list of the finest - the best that the category has to offer.


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The buddy-cop movie, like a romantic comedy, follows a predictable emotional path. The mismatched partners in these films typically form a Platonic friendship, putting aside their grudges to build grudging mutual respect. Buddy cops don't embrace, but they could high-five. These films are the first bromances.

Hot Fuzz

Angel (Simon Pegg) is a slightly paranoid London cop who lives his life as if it were a scene from a Jerry Bruckheimer film. Butterman (Nick Frost) is a slow-witted small-town officer who prefers to watch Bruckheimer films than participate in genuine car chases or shootouts. When Angel is sent to Butterman's peaceful burb in 'Hot Fuzz,' they become odd partners, and much of the joy of filmmaker Edgar Wright's 'Shaun of the Dead' followup is seeing these two actors play polar-opposite cops. 'Hot Fuzz,' in classic Wright form, is a parody of a genre that also serves as an over-the-top version of said genre, giving the tension and action an added layer of ironic cheekiness. Not unexpectedly, the movie doesn't quite reach the heights of the films it's spoofing/celebrating, but who could grumble about spending two hours in the company of Frost and Pegg?

Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in 'Hot Fuzz' (2007) (IMDb)
Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in 'Hot Fuzz' (2007) (IMDb)

Lethal Weapon

Choose your favorite 'Lethal Weapon,' but we'll stick with the original, which is sadder, scarier, and darker, with far less Joe Pesci yammering. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover were such diametrically opposed characters — Murtaugh exhausted and despondent, Riggs furious and out of control — that the picture is propelled forward by their uncomfortable, kinetic energy; you get the sense that both men want to die, but for very different reasons. The sequels lost the feeling of peril, but the original is still a live wire... Gibson became the world's biggest movie star as a result of it. Which we assume it will have to answer for indefinitely.

Mel Gibson, Blackie Dammett, Jason Ronard, and Jimmie F. Skaggs in 'Lethal Weapon' (1987) (IMDb)
Mel Gibson, Blackie Dammett, Jason Ronard, and Jimmie F. Skaggs in 'Lethal Weapon' (1987) (IMDb)

The Nice Guys

Shane Black is here, and this time he learns that his penchant for muscular bro patter and mismatched lovers who both love and despise each other works better as a historical drama. Russell Crowe plays the muscle, and Ryan Gosling plays the beleaguered private eye with the cute daughter, and they partner together to take down a pornographic cabal, or something. 'The Nice Guys' is humorous and brilliant, but also a little tiresome; you can tell it was conceived as a TV program, and it leaves you wanting more than it provides you. However, Gosling and Crowe work well together, and the picture is appealingly old school. Notably, it finished fourth in its first weekend, trailed by three sequels.

Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, and Angourie Rice in 'The Nice Guys' (2016) (IMDb)
Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, and Angourie Rice in 'The Nice Guys' (2016) (IMDb)

Men in Black

Of course, the key to this sci-fi action-comedy based on a comic book was that both of its stars were hilarious in their own unique ways. Jones and Smith were a delightful blend of buddy-cop clichés as Agents K and J — K was crotchety and quiet, J was trendy and flamboyant — but even when these partners didn't get along, the performers' friendliness was obvious. 'Men in Black' recorded Smith at the pinnacle of his blockbuster appeal — his seamless ability to make summertime popcorn movies seem like such ecstatic delight — but it also captured Jones in a more mischievous mood than usual. The Oscar winner seems completely confused while tackling big-budget pictures — he's so sad in 'Batman Forever,' which came out two years before — but he's the perfect straight guy here. Jones gets chuckles merely by staring witheringly at Agent J.

Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in Men in Black (1997) (IMDb)
Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in Men in Black (1997) (IMDb)

21 Jump Street

In most buddy cop movies, one partner is the cool guy and the other isn't. But what if their roles were reversed throughout the film? That's one of several great ideas in filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's adaptation of the little '80s TV drama, in which Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill play clumsy cops who go undercover in high school to arrest a drug dealer. When they were teenagers, Tatum's Jenko was the popular jock and Hill's Schmidt was the pushed-around dweeb, but they're about to find out that high school — and culture in general — has changed a lot since then, valuing Schmidt's sensitivity while disdaining Jenko's meathead cockiness. Both '21 Jump Street' and its similarly entertaining sequel cleverly use the contrasts in their protagonists' egos while ridiculing cop movies, Hollywood franchise bloat, and John Waite's "Missing You." In order to recreate the buddy-cop genre, these filmmakers wrecked it.

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in '21 Jump Street' (2012) (IMDb)
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in '21 Jump Street' (2012) (IMDb)

On August 12, 2022, Netflix will release 'Day Shift.'