A review of “Cop Car,” starring Kevin Bacon as a man so evil he should be twirling his droppy mustache. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
“Cop Car” has two kids at its center, but don’t mistake this taut, wicked little thriller for a children’s film. Kevin Bacon, his features sharp as a knife glinting in the sunshine, plays a villainous sheriff with an inconvenient problem: He’s stashed something crucial in his cop car, which he briefly abandoned in a quiet field — only to have it commandeered by a pair of runaway 10-year-olds (James Freedson-Jackson, Hays Wellford), who drive it away. “What if someone sees us?” the more timid boy of the two asks. “We’ll tell ‘em we’re cops,” says his friend, confidently.
This sounds pretty cute, but there’s nothing at all adorable about what happens — to the kids, to Sheriff Kretzer (the character shares a name with the corrupt sheriff of Billy Wilder’s “Ace in the Hole”), and to pretty much anyone who comes into their orbit. But for grown-ups, “Cop Car” is good nasty fun, particularly Bacon’s icy portrayal of a man so evil he should be twirling his droopy mustache. It’s a tense sit; you worry about the boys (don’t open that trunk, kids!) as they feel, misguidedly, invincible. “This is our cop car now!” says one of the boys, with gusto; you want to look away, but you can’t.