(Redirected from Rent-a-Cop (film))
This is an article about the movie. For the use of Rent-A-Cop as a nickname see Security guard.

Rent-a-Cop is a 1987 American thriller comedy 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.

Theatrical release poster by Tom Jung. Tagline: "There's a killer on the loose and the lady is the target"
Directed byJerry London
Produced byRaymond Wagner
John D. Schofield
Written byMichael Blodgett
Dennis Shryack
Music byJerry Goldsmith
CinematographyGiuseppe Rotunno
Edited byRobert Lawrence
Distributed byKings Road Entertainment
Release date
  • November 26, 1987 (1987-11-26) (West Germany)
  • January 15, 1988 (1988-01-15) (United States)
Running time
96 mins.
CountryUnited States
Budget$16 million[1]
Box office$295,000[2]

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.



Filming was to have begun in October 1986.[3] Filming was pushed back to November.[4] It was the feature film debut of director Jerry London, who had made his name through his work on mini series such as Shogun.

Burt Reynolds was paid $3 million for the role.[5] "His last couple of pictures were dark movies," said director Jerry London. "Audiences didn't come out of theaters with that warm glow Burt can give. I think this film will do it. Everyone says Burt hasn't been better in years."[6]

It was Minnelli's first film in five years. She had been admitted to the Betty Ford Clinic in 1984 for substance abuse problems. "Everybody I know, including myself, gets into trouble," she said. "When you dole out too much credit to public opinion, when your sense of self gets blurry, when you feel that what people think is more important than how you feel . . . that's when it's dangerous and that's an easy thing to happen - to me, to a housewife. That's when you worry about getting enough sleep, so you take a sleeping pill; when other people think you're overweight, so you take a diet pill. And then you find yourself in rehab." [7]

"The cop and the hooker story has been done a million times," said Reynolds. "The secret to doing the story is always the cop that hates the girl and the girl that hates the cop, but they need each other for whatever reason."[8]

Reynolds said he and Minnelli "like each other enormously, and that's kind of the subtext of what we are doing. We make each other laugh a lot."[8]

Reynolds and Minelli would improvise routines about Reynolds's real-life nostalgia for the 1950s.[8]

Location filming took place in Chicago. Studio work was done in Rome.

"He is an intelligent, sharp and hard-working professional," said London about Reynolds, "and the chemistry between him and Minnelli is wonderful. I think Rent-A- Cop is an audience picture, the kind of film where you have a good time for an hour and 40 minutes. It is just what Burt and his audience need."[6]


The film received negative reviews from critics, having a Rotten Tomatoes score of 18%, with 9 out of 11 professional reviews being negative.[9] 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.[10] 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".[11]


  1. ^ "The Unstoppables". Spy. November 1988. p. 92.
  2. ^
  3. ^ OUTTAKES: BLACK AND BLUE IN VELVET Los Angeles Times 28 Sep 1986: S18.
  4. ^ THE CITY MAUL . . .: Chicago Tribune 12 Nov 1986: 20.
  5. ^ BURT REYNOLDS IS THE COMEBACK KID: [Home Edition] MODDERNO, CRAIG. Los Angeles Times 4 Jan 1987: 6.
  6. ^ a b REYNOLDS SEEKS REBIRTH IN NEW YEAR, NEW FILM: [SUN-SENTINEL Edition] Davis, Ivor. Sun Sentinel19 Jan 1988: 1E.
  7. ^ ROBERT ALTMAN PLANS A 'NASHVILLE' SEQUEL Ryan, Desmond. Philadelphia Inquirer 1 Mar 1987: H.2.
  8. ^ a b c Burt goes for laughs in `Rent a Cop': [CITY Edition] Polk, Peggy. St. Petersburg Times23 Jan 1987: 4D.
  9. ^ "Rent-a-Cop (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  10. ^ Goodman, Walter (January 15, 1988). "Film: Liza Minnelli in 'Rent-a-Cop'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  11. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 29, 1988). "Rent-A-Cop (1988)". Retrieved December 12, 2015.

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