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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>
Quite fun but entirely unoriginal in almost every regard
When Detective Mitch Preston is filmed while trying to catch a criminal using a powerful new gun, he loses his patience and shoots the camera. Seeing the public reaction to this bad cop image, TV producer Chase Renzi makes a deal to drop the civil case against the precinct in exchange for Preston being the focus of a new cop reality show. The search for a partner draws the attention of actor-wannabe Officer Trey Sellars; Preston dislike and contempt for Sellars makes him the first choice to be his partner and the two find themselves lumbered together in the show. However, this is reality television and very soon the reality of a criminal with a powerful and deadly new weapon at his disposable raises the stakes beyond what even the network could have hoped for.
When I went to hire a video to watch for a night in, I was in a rush but was told at the counter that I could get one more out under their deal and actually save a pound so I just grabbed the nearest film with no intention of watching it. That film was Showtime and funnily enough it was the film out of the selection that I ended up watching. 'Why?' you might ask 'did you watch the only one you didn't pick?'. Well, it was a lazy and chilling Friday night in and Showtime pretty much delivers just what I needed by being quite fun but never once causing you to think or really engage your brain by being original or clever. The plot is basically the standard mismatched buddy stuff and the actual crime story is merely the set up and something that allows the story to have an ending to speak of. As a buddy cop movie it does nothing new at all but still manages to be fun even if it doesn't really have anything approaching big consistent laughs. Many viewers will be annoyed, considering what a high profile movie it is, that it just trundles along the tired old clichés and jokes but others will find it forgettable and basic fun I supposed it depends on your mood and you expectations.
The cast is maybe part of the reason expectations would be high since both have had some success with the mismatched buddy genre before (Midnight Run and, to a lesser extent, Beverly Hills Cop). De Niro is always watchable but he is very much on autopilot here, plying his usual moody self without ever giving an indication that he was doing more than taking money and aiming for an easy popular hit. Murphy also wheels out his usual shtick with sub-BHC banter and 'that' laugh. Together they manage to have just enough energy and natural screen presence to make a mark despite the tired material but really they have both been much better elsewhere. Russo has nothing to do and is really just a distraction in a role that could have been better served with a less well-known actress in it. The cameos are mixed and this is best demonstrated by the presence of Mos Def and Wiliam Shatner. Mos Def offered me hope because he is so often the best thing in average films; sadly here he was boring and I was surprised he had taken such an uninteresting role. Shatner however is much better and steals the film from the other stars in his scenes as he wonderfully sends himself and TJ Hooker up.
Overall this is far from being a great film, despite the budget and big name actors involved. It is unoriginal, lazy and rather uninspiring, however this is not to say that it is not some degree of simple fun to watch if the genre weren't then they would have stopped kicking them out some time ago. If you approach it in the mindset of looking for basic entertainment with no real expectations on it then you should enjoy it, however if you think that it will rise above the pack solely on the basis of being a high profile film then think again and approach with caution.
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