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movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Showtime

Starring: Robert De Niro, Eddie Murphy
Director: Tom Dey
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: March 2002
Genres: Action, Comedy

*Also starring: Rene Russo, William Shatner, Mos Def, Ken Campbell, Frankie Faison, Julio Dolce Vita

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

In this action comedy, Robert De Niro is Mitch, a gruff, no-nonsense, 28-year veteran of the L.A.P.D.. All he wants is to be left alone to do his job. But when Eddie Murphy, as Trey, a goofy rookie cop who would rather be an actor on TV, inadvertently botches Mitch's undercover operation, Mitch loses his cool and takes a shot at a news camera held by an intrusive TV reporter. While that makes him an instant media celebrity, it's a public relations fiasco for the police department. To avoid a lawsuit, Mitch must agree to work with an unscrupulous TV producer, played by Rene Russo, intent on making a "live" reality series about cops. That involves teaming up with charming, chatty, media-savvy Trey and working under constant mini-cam surveillance as he tries to apprehend a ruthless criminal named Vargas (Pedro Damian of "Collateral Damage") who now has deadly hand-held machine guns in his armory. Developed by the team that did "Shanghai Noon" (director Tom Dey, writers Alfred Hogh & Miles Miller) from a story by Jorge Saralegui and screenplay by Keith Sharon, it's obviously a satiric riff on formulaic cop buddy movies like "Lethal Weapon" and "Rush Hour." Most of the time, the slapstick humor seems recycled, even forced, but not when William Shatner's on-screen. Playing himself, Shatner is recruited, based on his "T.J. Hooker" persona, to show stoic Mitch how to be more flamboyant, like a prototypical TV police officer - and Shatner's parody is hilarious, as he clumsily throws himself over the hood of a car after commenting that Mitch "is the worst actor I've ever seen." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Showtime" is a mildly amusing, absurd 6, but both Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy have done this shtick too often before.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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