out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
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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