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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 Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

"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

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