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LAPD Detective Sergeant Mitch Preston cares only about doing his job and nailing crooks. LAPD Patrol Officer Trey Sellars joined the force as a day job until his acting career took off. During an undercover drug buy Mitch was working that Trey botched by calling in for backup and drawing media attention, Mitch's partner is shot with a very exotic 12-gauge automatic weapon; Mitch then shoots the video camera out of the hands of a reporter filming the action when the cameraman refused to shut it down. Faced with a $10 million lawsuit, the department agrees to let producer Chase Renzi film Mitch's investigation for a new reality TV show, and constantly tries to make everything more "viewer friendly" by changing everything about Mitch's life to fit the stereotypical view of police officers--and partners him with Trey. Written by
Jeff Cross <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ballad of the Green Berets
Music by Robin Moore
Lyrics by Barry Sadler
Performed by Barry Sadler
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a Unit of BMG Entertainment
Under license from BMG Special Products See more »
About the best thing that can be said for `Showtime' a throwaway cop buddy comedy starring Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy is that it demonstrates that an inferior script can be at least partially overcome by first-rate performances.
You can't go too wrong when you have acting talent of this caliber working for you. De Niro and Murphy portray two LAPD officers who are recruited to be the central `characters' for a new `Cops'-type reality TV show, wherein a camera crew will follow the two on their appointed rounds as they chase suspects, round up criminals and, all in all, make the streets of LA safe for the common, decent citizens who reside therein. De Niro's Mitch Preston is a reluctant participant in the series, while Murphy's Trey Sellars is a wannabe actor with stars in his eyes who sees this as his golden opportunity to make it big in show business.
The initial problem with `Showtime' is that it feels more like a `high concept' exercise than an actual movie. Despite the fact that there are a number of funny moments in the film, too many of the scenes fall flat both as comedy and as action drama. The saving grace is that De Niro's understated cynicism provides an effective counterpoint to Murphy's over-the-top enthusiasm, resulting in just enough comic tension to wring laughs out of even the weakest of material. It is a joy to watch these two pros at work and they are nicely complemented by Rene Russo as the driven TV producer whose brainchild serves as the excuse for the story. William Shatner, playing himself, also generates some laughs, often at his own good-natured expense.
Yet the film itself is a failure. One of the prime dictums of the screenplay is to try to show the discrepancy between police work as it is portrayed on the screen and police work as it really is. In fact, the film opens with veteran De Niro instructing a class of elementary school children about the mundane realities of life on the job. Yet, the film betrays its own theme by itself indulging in all the inane shoot-em-up and car chase scenes it is supposed to be satirizing (the scenes are not exploited for comic effect, which might have lent some much needed satirical bite to the proceedings). Even worse, the `serious' side of the story, involving drug deals and gun running, fails to generate any interest or suspense.
Oh well. De Niro and Murphy are such likable comic actors that the movie, for all its many weaknesses, manages to whiz by without inflicting too much boredom and pain. `Showtime' is a completely forgettable and innocuous little time waster, but fans of these particular actors will at least appreciate their efforts.
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