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Showtime: Star Power Over Script

  • Holly McClure Movie Reviewer
  • 2002 2 Feb
  • COMMENTS
<I>Showtime</I>: Star Power Over Script

Showtime - PG-13

Best for: Mature adults

What it's about: LAPD detective Mitch Preston (Robert DeNiro) takes his police work seriously. Patrol Officer Trey Sellars (Eddie Murphy) wants to become a detective, but his heart really isn't in it. Trey's real passion is acting, and he would love nothing more than to play a cop on TV.

One night, while on his beat, Trey interrupts an undercover operation led by Preston, and the local news catches the event. Mitch gets angry at the interference of the press, fires his gun at a camera in anger and, in order to have a lawsuit against the department dropped, is ordered to appear on a reality cop show.

Trey becomes TV partners with Preston, who hates having television producer Chase Renzi (Rene Russo) follow him around all day. But it's the only thing that can keep him off suspension long enough to pursue a drug dealer who has slipped through his hands. Soon the two become the stars of Showtime, the biggest reality show hit in TV history. Mos Def and William Shatner also star.

The good: Hollywood scripts are getting more interesting these days, with star pairings (like DeNiro and Murphy) that no one in Hollywood 10 years ago would have dreamed would work. Since DeNiro has proven he can handle comedy, and Murphy has proven he can play a funny cop, the two were a good choice for this buddy movie.

Showtime is an action comedy in the traditional style, with car chases, explosions, good guys fighting bad guys and of course, a secret weapon that could endanger lives. But this comedy takes a different turn by laughing at itself, creating an over-the-top TV show that makes fun of the glamorized cop shows.

Russo, who continues to dazzle with her beauty, is well cast as the stereotypical Hollywood producer who's only in it to make a lot of money.

This is the kind of movie you go to see because of star power. Watching these three work together is more entertaining than the story, and they make the movie worthwhile.

The not-so-good: Although the story proves to be entertaining and both DeNiro and Murphy are funny, something about the movie never really clicks. Is it funny? Yes. It's hard to have Murphy in a movie and not laugh. Was it interesting? Yes. The plot about the secret weapon gave the rest of the story some momentum. Was the premise a good idea? Yes, it was clever: Even the cops are jaded about their own cop show!

So what didn't work? DeNiro has proven he's adept at handling the material, but his style works best when he still has an "edge" and the audience isn't quite sure what he'll do. In this movie he starts of mean and gruff, but halfway through he loses that edge and becomes a sort of marshmallow to set up Murphy's jokes. The chemistry would have kept its edge and the story would have been more interesting if DeNiro hadn't become such a creampuff by the end.

Offensive language & behavior: Lots of profanity, including an abundant use of scatological terms and religious profanities. Drugs are shown but not used.

Sexual situations: None.

Violence: Lots of it. Police shoot at the bad guys, and the bad guys shoot a secret type of gun that obliterates everything in sight. A house is literally gunned down, a man and woman are presumed dead but not shown, several explosions take place, several men are shot, and a man is washed over the edge of a building.

Parental advisory: The violence and language in this movie make it appropriate only for mature audiences. Just because it has a "PG-13" rating and stars Eddie Murphy does not mean its Dr. Doolittle-friendly. Heed the rating and don't take your kids to this action/comedy for adults.

Bottom line: I know it sounds like I didn't like this movie, but I did. Pairing DeNiro and Murphy together was movie magic. I just think Showtime could have been a better story if the movie would have made the audience take it a little more seriously.