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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

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Harvey Karten review follows ---
2.  Dustin Putman read the review video review
3.  Edward Johnson-Ott read the review movie review
4.  Susan Granger read the review movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
5.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review

Review by Harvey Karten
No Rating Supplied

Since buddy movies, cop movies and cop-buddy movies have been done to death, Tom Dey, who directs "Showtime," bills this one as a parody of the genres, but whether you call a lemon an orange or not, it's still a lemon. "Showtime" is tepid stuff, making you wonder why De Niro would want to play the part. He looks uncomfortable throughout perhaps because the pallid script calls for him to perform as a detective with little personality, virtually no acting ability, a man who just want to be left alone to do the job he's been plugging away at for twenty years.

In fact he looks most troubled performing opposite Eddie Murphy in the role of a police rookie who wants to be an actor, De Niro's level of discomfort being perhaps what the part calls for ((he's not supposed to like the person he's partnered with), or perhaps because he must step aside to allow Murphy to overshadow him as a flamboyant personality who collects all the fan mail to De Niro's sparse pickings.

The odd couple, Detective Mitch Preston (Robert De Niro) and Rookie Trey Sellars (Eddie Murphy) get paired up in a deal between a TV network and the L.A. police department. When Preston, known as a loose gun, or cowboy on the force, shoots a video camera dead during his investigation of a crime, the station threatens to sue for $10 million but will drop the suit if Preston and Sellars would agree to the demands of producer Chase Renzi (Rene Russo) and director William Shatner (playing himself) to partner up and allow the TV crew to film them in action. The laughs, such as they are, come from Sellars' preening before the camera while for his part Preston just wants the movie equipment out of his face. Some titters are evoked from Preston's being kidded about his hobby, which is making pottery. The comedy turns into some serious explosions as the duo go after a criminal named Vargas who totes a gun that's more advanced than anything the U.S. Army has.

After De Niro's hilarious performance in "Meet the Parents," "Showtime" is a comedown and for Murphy, still is a master of comic timing at age forty-one, a wittier script is sorely needed.

Copyright 2002 Harvey Karten

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