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I'm not a cop, but I play one on TV...
Looking for another Beverly Hills Cop comedy or Lethal Weapon action picture? Don't see this.
I've seen reviews of this film calling it "over-acted," "seemingly unscripted," "unoriginal," and "bland sitcom fare." Reviews here have called DeNiro unfunny. If you count any of those words towards this film in a negative connotation, you've obviously missed the point (or you're under 25). Yes, it is all those words, and that's what makes it funny. Not fresh, just funny.
This film is the answer to all those unoriginal buddy cop tv shows & films of the 70's, 80's and the seemingly unscripted reality show drivel of today. It is over-acted from the first scenes as it's meant to. The characters are all exaggerations. Exaggerations of those with no sense of humor or fun (probably those writing film reviews for newspapers). Exaggerations of virtually every young Hollywood hotshot with power and "hot new" ideas. Exaggerations of how people with instant fame behave -- be it fame from a talent show or reality series or one-hit wonder in the recording studio, you know you've seen the types.
DeNiro is an exceptional straightman to Murphy's jabbing at his own super-cop films. Russo, as the slimy Hollywood yes-woman is brilliant in her attempt to rise to the top at any cost. Add to that Bill Shatner giving acting tips (an uproar in itself) as his own TJ Hooker self; Pedro Damian as, what else, a bad guy; and cameos from familiar faces like Johnny Cochran, Ken Campbell, and Kadeem Hardison (who really should have had more scenes) and you have the ultimate in parody.
Of course, the contradictory approach also adds to the hilarity: DeNiro telling school children that it's not like you see on TV with big gun scenes and explosions and the very next scene an über-weapon destroys a warehouse of TVs. Renee Russo (blacklisted for setting baby items on fire as part of an expose and calling it "good television") hopes to catch DeNiro going psycho AFTER he shoots a camera.
It's not filled with intelligent humor or fantastic action and it's not destined to be a classic, but it certainly pokes fun at American media culture. Anyone that says DeNiro isn't funny should go back and look at the expression on his face when he gasps like it's his last breath and says, "It's Showtime!"
The only disappointment was finding out that the final action scene cameos were cut from the released version.