"Buddy cop" movies have been able to stand the test of time since the premise – two dissimilar personalities forced to work together to achieve the same goal – is inherently full of drama. We all know the well-worn clichés of a white cop paired with a black cop, or a rookie with a veteran, but The Heat (in theaters June 28) makes BOTH cops women (played by Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy). Though female officers are surprisingly rare in buddy cop films, they’re far from the most outlandish team to exist on screen. Here are some of the strangest crime-fighting partners seen onscreen.
Turner & Hooch (1989)
Tom Hanks plays a neat-freak cop who takes in a slobbery French Mastiff, the only witness" to a murder who ends up turning his life upside down. As ridiculous as this premise is, the film does have a certain charm the myriad other buddy cop movies involving dogs lacked.
Speaking of which,1989 was THE year of competing buddy cop-canine movies. K-9, starring James Belushi and a German Shepherd, was released three months before Turner & Hooch, but Hanks and his slobby pal stole its thunder. Still, the film was popular enough (popular being a relative term) to warrant two direct-to-video sequels, K-911 and K-9: P.I.
Top Dog (1995)
Did you think Hollywood was done with dog cops? Nope! This time around, the human role is filled by Chuck Norris, while his partner is a shaggy mutt. Together, the two attempt to foil a terrorism plot made by neo-Nazis who plan to murder the pope. Because when the stakes are that high, your best bet is having a dog on the case.
Cop and a Half (1993)
We move from animals to even more ludicrous pairings with humans. In Cop and a Half, Burt Reynolds gets paired up with a precocious 8-year-old kid who witnesses a murder, but will only help the police in their investigation if they agree to make him—you betcha, a cop. Who cares about the safety of an innocent child when there’s hijinks to be had?
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)
Sylvester Stallone gets an unlikely partner when his overbearing mother, played by Estelle Getty, interferes with his police work – AND his love life. Getty initially refused to do the movie unless the producers agreed that there wouldn’t be any guns in it – an odd request not only for a buddy cop movie, but a film whose title explicitly refers to shooting a gun. She ended up doing it anyway, and it became Sylvester Stallone’s worst film (according to him).
White Chicks (2004)
Remember all the way back to 2004, when Paris Hilton was the Kim Kardashian of her day? Shawn and Marlon Wayans play FBI agents who go undercover as two white Paris-evoking heiresses in order to foil a kidnapping plot. What they mostly end up doing is upsetting the audience with their grotesque, unnatural appearance via whiteface. We can’t decide which story element is harder to believe - the Wayans Brothers as white women, or the Wayans Brothers as FBI agents?
Dead Heat (1988)
Sometimes buddy cop movies get mixed up with sci-fi, and you get ridiculous plotlines like the one in Dead Heat: two of LAPD's finest (Joe Piscopo and Treat Williams) discover that someone’s raising the dead to become zombie criminals. Williams gets murdered during his investigation, then comes back from the dead to seek revenge on the man who killed him. The film desperately tries to be horror, sci-fi, comedy and action all at once, but never succeeds at any of it.
Jean Claude Van Damme is the good guy and bad guy in this sci-fi buddy cop thriller. Playing serial killer Edward The Torche" Garrotte, Van Damme is hunted by a detective and his partner, Garrotte's exact clone (save for a head full of greasy long hair) created by using the killer’s DNA at a crime scene. You’d think this premise is just an excuse for some fancy special effects depicting Van Damme fighting himself, but it’s fairly obvious it’s his body double doing the work.
Theodore Rex (1995)
Theodore Rex is the kind of movie that boggles the mind how it even got made in the first place. In this abysmal direct-to-video buddy cop flick that takes place in the future, Whoopi Goldberg plays a tough policewoman who gets paired with a wise-talking dinosaur - because dinosaurs exist in the future, you know – and the two try and find out who’s on a dino-murder spree. Spoiler 1: it’s not an asteroid. Spoiler 2: there’s an I’m too sexy" joke, which was already dated by 1995.
Alien Nation (1988)
If an alien race were to make a home here on Earth, surely some of them would turn to law enforcement, right? In this sci-fi buddy cop flick, L.A. cop Matthew Sykes (James Caan) is paired with Samuel Francisco (Mandy Patinkin), the very first alien detective, to investigate his former partner’s murder. Sykes despises the alien race, but learns to respect them after working with his new buddy. We wish we could develop the same affection for those hideous bald alien craniums.
Osmosis Jones (2001)
Bill Murray’s body is the setting for this half live-action, half animated comedy, featuring a rebellious white blood cell cop (voiced by Chris Rock) teaming up with an uppity cold pill (David Hyde Pierce) to combat a deadly virus before it kills its host. The film is basically a 90-minute version of that Body Wars simulator at EPCOT, and a mildly entertaining way to convince kids to wash their hands before they eat.