Bon Cop, Bad Cop

Good-Cop-Bon-CopAs someone who grew up in Ontario (mostly) and now lives in Quebec, I can say with authority that Bon Cop, Bad Cop is a fantastic send up of the occasionally pained relationship between the two provinces.  There’s a lot of history and a lot of angst to be found in that relationship, and somehow we now seem more distant from each other than do the English and French, whose historic animus is the basis for our long-standing conflict.

When I go shopping in Quebec, I do not speak French and neither does Jay even though she’s totally bilingual.  I am not bilingual but I know enough to order a Happy Meal in French if I wanted.  But I DON’T want to – I want Quebec McDonald’s to speak English to me.

That stubbornness goes both ways.  Not only do many frontline retail staff refuse to speak English back to me (especially older ones), Quebecers are consistently terrible drivers who poke along well below the speed limit in the fast lane and refuse to move over for my bright orange racecar no matter how close I get to their bumper.

And yet, we consistently have each other’s back when push comes to shove.  When it rained for what seemed like a month straight in April and May and the Ottawa River started overflowing its banks to the point that it came onto our backyard, those same French bastards from McDonald’s and the highway banded together to deliver sandbags to us (and thousands of other English speakers in our border city) at 10:30 p.m. on a Sunday and then helped us put those sandbags in place, with smiles on their faces as they asked in English whether they could do anything else to help.

Bon Cop, Bad Cop nails that dynamic at every step, as two cops (Ontarian Colm Feore and Quebecer Patrick Huard) are forced to work together to solve a murder in which a body was found straddling the Ontario-Quebec border.  Of course they’re going to try to one-up the other, of course they’re going to set stupid and arbitrary rules about who does what and which language gets used when, and of course their petty squabbles are going to put everything in jeopardy.  Because that’s what we do.  But in the end, we accomplish what needs doing, and we share a grudging respect that binds us closer than geography alone ever could.

Bon Cop, Bad Cop captures our relationship perfectly and pokes fun at it at every opportunity.  That made Bon Cop, Bad Cop enjoyable in spite of its cliches, nonsensical plot, and cheap shots at Gary Bettman (okay, the last bit was enjoyable on its own).   But if you’re not from either province, you probably won’t get it, and truthfully we kind of like that you don’t.   We may argue over which of Ontario and Quebec is better but we agree that both are way better than wherever the hell you live.

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13 thoughts on “Bon Cop, Bad Cop

  1. mikeladano

    Enjoyed this review. I took French in high school and it was my worst subject. I scored 66% in grade 9 and 63% in grade 10. I remember next to nothing!

    I also forgot Colm Feore was in this.

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    1. Sean Post author

      I stopped taking French after grade 9 (it was mandatory for that year but not afterward). I am certain I only passed because my teacher did not want to risk having me in her class again. I had totally forgotten everything too until I moved to Ottawa. I wish I had paid attention as it would actually be useful unlike basically everything else I learned in high school.

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. mikeladano

        Same here — only mandatory in grade 9. I took it in grade 10 thinking maybe with a new teacher I’d finally “get it” and be on my way to fluency. Nope. It’s on me, I really struggled until I gave up.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Lorna Cunningham-Rushton

    Nice description of the love-hate relationship we all manage. I’m in France right now and though I have spoken French since I was 16, people look at me with a certain jenesaispas thing and I just stutter.
    Looking forward to the 2nd movie though.

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    1. Sean Post author

      I definitely feel pressure when speaking French! And moreso in France for some reason. I guess because they look down on Quebec French even when spoken well! I’m interested to see the 2nd one too after enjoying the first as much as I did.

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  3. Jay

    J’aime beaucoup votre critique de film. Vous avez absolument raison – ce sont les differences qui nous unis. Ce n’est pas toujours une belle relation mais l’entraide est là lorsque nécessaire. Nous avons de bons voisins avec l’esprit généreux. J’étais fière de tout qu’on a accompli ensemble. Comme sinistrés des inondations du printemps et comme citoyenne, c’était un bon effort par tous les coins.

    Your review even made me a little teary, possibly because we’re still not entirely dried out from the flood. If you wanted a little more of this, you know the sequel’s playing in french at the drive-in…

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    1. Sean Post author

      After seeing the first I think I need subtitles working for me. Too much fast talking slangy French for me to make any sense of it.

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    1. Sean Post author

      I think we take it to an extreme though, being part of the same country but having two different official languages and a very combative history. It was less than 300 years ago that France and Great Britain were killing each other seeking control of these two provinces.

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