Rent-a-Cop (film)

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This is an article about the movie. For the use of Rent-A-Cop as a nickname see Security guard.
Theatrical release poster by Tom Jung. Tagline: "There's a killer on the loose and the lady is the target"
Directed by Jerry London
Produced by Raymond Wagner
John D. Schofield
Written by Michael Blodgett
Dennis Shryack
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Giuseppe Rotunno
Edited by Robert Lawrence
Distributed by Kings Road Entertainment
Release date
  • November 26, 1987 (1987-11-26) (West Germany)
  • January 15, 1988 (1988-01-15) (United States)
Running time
96 mins.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $295,000[1]

Rent-a-Cop is a 1987 American comedy crime film starring Burt Reynolds and Liza Minnelli. Reynolds plays a disgraced police officer, now working as a security guard, who falls in love with Minnelli, who plays a prostitute.

The film saw both lead actors to be nominated for the 1988 Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Actor and Worst Actress. (These nominations were not solely on the merits of Rent-a-Cop, however; Reynolds and Minnelli were also cited for Switching Channels and Arthur 2: On the Rocks, respectively). Minnelli ended up "winning" the Worst Actress prize.

The film earned under $300,000 in American ticket sales. Initially released on 26 November 1987 in West Germany, its American premiere came two months later on 15 January 1988. Although set in Chicago, the movie was mostly filmed in Italy.


A drug bust is about to go down and Chicago cop Tony Church is on the case. Things go horribly wrong, though. His fellow officers get slaughtered and Church takes the blame, getting fired from the force.

Della, a high-priced hooker, happened to be in the hotel at the time and caught a good look at the killer's face. Now she's scared and needs protection. She tracks down Church, who can't find employment other than as a security guard. Della offers him a fee to be her bodyguard until the killer is caught.

The lunatic everyone's after is called Dancer, partly because he likes to bust a move in front of a mirror whenever he gets the chance. A former police officer, Roger, is around to give Church advice and assistance, at least until it's revealed that Roger is now totally corrupt.

Church manages to save Della's life, and after quite a bit of bickering, they discover a mutual attraction as well.



The film received negative reviews from critics, having a Rotten Tomatoes score of 18%, with 9 out of 11 professional reviews being negative.[2] Walter Goodman reviewing for The New York Times praised Minnelli's performance, but described the plot as sloppy and the directing as efficient but uninspired.[3] Roger Ebert gave it 2 out of 4 stars, saying "Rent-A-Cop is a collision between a relationship and a cliche, and the cliche wins, but not before the relationship has given us some nice moments".[4]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Rent-a-Cop (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 12, 2015. 
  3. ^ Goodman, Walter (January 15, 1988). "Film: Liza Minnelli in 'Rent-a-Cop'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2015. 
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 29, 1988). "Rent-A-Cop (1988)". Retrieved December 12, 2015. 

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