Showtime (12)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner05/02/2002

Three out of five stars
Running time: 95 mins

Undeniably stupid, but still a lot of fun to watch, Showtime succeeds due to three things: great performances from its leads, an entirely respectable running time and the presence of Mr William Shatner.

Given that Robert DeNiro’s last few roles have all been in comedies (Rocky & Bullwinkle, Analyse This, Meet the Parents), you could be forgiven for thinking he’s given up on serious dramatic acting altogether. However, perhaps he’s onto something, because Showtime is an enjoyable, if entirely forgettable little ‘buddy cop’ comedy that also gives Eddie Murphy his funniest role in A Very Long Time Indeed.

The story is practically plotting-by-numbers. DeNiro plays Mitch Preston, a gruff, no-nonsense LAPD detective with a secret passion for, of all things, pottery – just to make him, you know, interesting. When a TV news company gets in the way of an important bust, Mitch angrily shoots the camera and, in order to avoid being sued by the TV company, he is ordered to take part in a reality TV cop show.

However, the show’s producer (Rene Russo, who would be the love interest if the film was remotely interested in developing that sub-plot) decides that Mitch needs a partner and so Mitch ends up with rookie-cop and wannabe actor ‘Ice’ Trey Sellars (Murphy), who, naturally, Mitch can’t stand.

And that’s basically it. The rest of the plot involves an Evil Villain with an extremely dodgy accent, whose sole aim appears to be to get hold of some Really Big Guns. (Think machine-bazookas). Will Mitch and Trey put aside their differences and nail the bad guys? Will they earn each other’s respect? Well, what do you think?

Showtime could easily have been a complete disaster, but the combination of the performances and some inspired gags are enough to lift it onto safe ground. DeNiro, of course, can do this sort of thing in his sleep and he’s clearly coasting here, essentially acting the straight man to Murphy, who really steals the film as the preening, fame-obsessed cop. (His ‘audition’ sequence is a definite highlight).

What’s most important is that DeNiro and Murphy have a genuine chemistry together – they’re an extremely likeable pair and that compensates for any other dodgy moments in the film. (It seems likely, given the running time that several sub-plots were cut out – for example, if Trey has a girlfriend, we never see her).

Oddly enough, it’s the action sequences that are the worst part of the film – a car chase, for example, seems to last forever and is boring to watch. However, it’s hard to hate any film in which Bill "The Shats" Shatner turns up as himself to give hints about how to be a cop on TV "just like I did on TJ Hooker"…(these are easily the funniest scenes of the film).

In short, Showtime is forgettable and dumb but worth switching your brain off for. Also, don’t leave during the end credits or you’ll miss the amusing out-takes. Worth seeing if you’re stuck for a Saturday night no-brainer.

Film Trailer

Showtime (12)
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Content updated: 17/10/2017 17:57

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