Reviewed August 5th, 2002 by Dan Jones
Ah, the buddy cop film, without a doubt one of Hollywood’s favorite genres. The latest entry being Showtime.
Showtime’s storyline goes like this. We’ve got Chase Renzi played by Renee Russo as a TV producer who wants to create a reality based show like Cops, except that this show would focus just on one partnership and would be much more involved then just showing the apprehension of a crook. As first choice, we have Robert De Niro (who seems to love doing comedies nowadays) as Mitch Preston; a straight shooting cop who has one goal and one goal only, to catch the crooks, and if there’s one thing he does not want to do is be a pawn in Renzi’s TV show; yet he really has no choice (you’ll find out why in the first few minutes). Problem is Preston’s original partner has been injured, so Renzi is going to need to find a new one... enter Eddie Murphy’s character Trey Sellars who is, you guessed it, the exact opposite of Mitch Preston. Here is a guy who really has no aspirations to be a real police officer, he’d much rather be an actor, so here’s his opportunity.
Obviously, neither Sellars nor Preston mesh very well with each other, just as all partners experience in buddy cop films. Nevertheless, as time goes by they adjust and grow to accept each other (well, somewhat) while stopping crime in front of the camera.
Overall, the film is rather predictable. De Niro’s character is always focusing on solving the crime at hand while Murphy’s character is posing for the camera, yet the crooks cannot help but be ultimately overwhelmed by them.
The acting is solid throughout with good performances from De Niro, Murphy, and Russo, as well as the always-hilarious William Shatner playing himself. Yet, the film itself just seems tired even if it does provide a laugh here and there, and the storyline never really seems to go anywhere in such a way to make the audience really care. Showtime was undoubtedly planned to be a large blockbuster film, yet grossed barely half of its bloated eighty-million dollar budget; perhaps the DVD format will give it another shot at success.
Video wise, Showtime has been given a very solid 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer from Warner. There is very little to complain about here. Detail is solid, colors and flesh tones are right on, there was nary a compression artifact to be found and the source seems very clean. Very little edge enhancement was noticed. Overall, this is a great transfer that should not disappoint.
Audio wise, we get a very nice 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. This is a nicely enveloping mix with great impact on the low end when needed (like the over the top weapons in the film). Voice clarity is pristine throughout the film never leaving you wondering, “What did he say?” Surrounds are used quite actively and imaging is smooth from front to back and left to right. Also included is a French dub, along with English, French-Quebec and Spanish subtitles.
Starting the extras off, we have an audio commentary by the film’s director. Tom Dey and producer Jorge Saralegui. This is a pretty nice commentary track that covers the film from a lot of angles (casting, story, etc), without going into great detail technically. So if you are looking for what did they use to shoot this scene, you may be disappointed.
Next, we have nine deleted scenes. A couple of these are quite amusing dealing with Murphy’s character. They really provide little more information to the plot and were cut to keep the film flowing smoothly, but they are worth a watch. Some funny stuff here.
Next, we have the often-used featurette of the HBO “Making Of”. In reality, these really have nothing to do with the making of the film, for the most part its just plot summary and spoilers here. Of course watching it after will just prove redundant and boring. This is basically promotional filler; nothing more.
Rounding it out we have the film’s theatrical trailer and cast and crew filmographies.
Overall, Showtime is an okay film. While the storyline has some original ideas to it, it is for the most part redundant with others in its genre. The acting does prove to save the film though; De Niro puts in a great roll trying not to be funny (yet we cannot help but laugh at him) and Murphy is of course hilarious. It’s not as strong as films like 48 Hours or Beverly Hills Cop, yet it does entertain. I will recommend the film for a purchase if you like this genre, or are a big fan of De Niro or Murphy. Otherwise, I would say it’s worth a rent at the very least. Entertainment with flaws.
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