"This guy is going to be a bloopers classic," one of the television reports
says of cop Trey Sellars (Eddie Murphy) after Trey gets himself cuffed with
his own handcuffs. Trey is being partnered with Mitch Preston (Robert De
Niro), dubbed the "camcorder killer" by the newspapers for shooting a
television camera at a crime scene. The genius behind the pairing of Trey
and Mitch is television producer Chase Renzi (Rene Russo), who is convinced
that these two real-life cops would be the perfect stars of a new reality
television show about cops. The show ends up being called "Showtime" from
Trey's tag line for the series, "It's showtime!"
The movie SHOWTIME, directed by Tom Dey, whose only other film was the
delightfully wacky SHANGHAI NOON, is a delicious blend of THIS IS SPINAL
TAP's pseudo-realism and DIE HARD's villains and actions. The sharp script
by Keith Sharon, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar contains some great lines.
My favorite comes when Mitch and Trey first lay eyes on Chase's redecoration
of Mitch's apartment. Chase has an obsessive proclivity for sprucing up
reality so she changes his furnishings from dull and shabby to something
bursting with tacky colors. One look and Trey says to Mitch, "Maybe we
should call Don Johnson and tell him we found his apartment." Another good
line comes when Chase tries to reassure her two actors that the cameraman is
right for the job. "He has done everything from Desert Storm to Jerry
Springer," she tells them.
Murphy and DeNiro are well cast. Murphy gets to mug for the camera for all
he's worth, and DeNiro gets to scowl since the plot has Trey wanting the
acting job and Mitch loathing the idea. A subplot about big guns that
operate like handheld cannons isn't anything original, but it keeps the
stars busy chewing up the scenery.
It's hard to see how anybody wouldn't like this fun little film. It asks
nothing of the audience other than to sit back and enjoy a couple of great
actors hamming it up. Even if it sometimes feels like BEVERLY HILLS COP
LITE, it consistently entertains.
SHOWTIME runs 1:35. It is rated PG-13 for "action violence, language and
some drug content" and would be acceptable for kids around 9 and up.
My son Jeffrey, almost 13, gave it *** 1/2. He thought that it was
hilarious and that DeNiro and Murphy were excellent choices for the roles.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes