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Bams' review of
Showtime
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Showtime

Showtime (2002)
Rated PG-13; running time 95 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros.
Genre: Comedy/Action
Seen at: Celebration Cinema (Lansing, Michigan)
Official site: http://showtimemovie.warnerbros.com/
IMDB site: http://us.imdb.com/Details?0284490
Written by: Keith Sharon, Miles Millar, Alfred Gough
Directed by: Tom Dey
Cast: Robert De Niro, Eddie Murphy, Rene Russo, William Shatner, Pedro Damian, T.J. Cross, Mos Def, Frankie Faison, Kadeem Hardison, Drena De Niro

Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002


(click here to skip to this movie's rating)


Half of Full Metal Jacket is one of my favorite movies ever. In its brilliant first act, Vincent D'Onofrio and R. Lee Ermey conduct a Master's seminar in acting - leaving its decent, but lesser, second act in the dust.

Something similar happens with Showtime. Uh, but without the brilliance.


THE STORY (WARNING: **spoilers contained below**)
Mitch Preston (Robert De Niro) is a no-nonsense, 20+ year veteran police detective who just wants to get the job done. Officer Trey Sellars (Eddie Murphy) wants to get the job done, too: only, the job that Sellars wants most is to be a Star. Preston and Sellars are reluctantly brought together after they both are Caught! On! Tape! after a bust that Sellars inadvertently fouled up for Preston. Sellars is anything but camera shy; whereas Preston shows exactly how much he hates the media, by shooting the camera when a cameraman gets in the way of Preston's pursuit of the drug dealing Lazyboy (Mos Def).

TV Producer Chase Renzi (Rene Russo), smelling opportunity, tells Preston's Captain (Frankie Faison) that her network won't sue the LAPD, if the LAPD will make Preston star in a "reality" cop show on their network. Preston is, of course, against this - especially when he's forced to take on the camera-hogging Sellars as his TV "partner".


THE UPSHOT
Okay, Showtime at its best doesn't come close to Full Metal Jacket even at its worst. But the comparison holds: in both these films, the more interesting bits happen in training mode. And Showtime - because it is a riff on buddy cop movies and reality TV shows - suffers under the weight of its own parody. It's difficult to take Showtime seriously when it unfolds as the same kind of show of which it pokes fun. Yes, I know it's a comedy, but still.

Not surprisingly, Eddie Murphy runs away with Showtime. To say that Murphy single-handedly created the archetype Sassy Black Sidekick/Cop, isn't exaggerating too much. He resurrects his long-dormant alter-ego Reggie Hammond (48 HRS), to funny effect here. Though Murphy has put on many years since Reggie was Fresh, that same motormouth seemed to work for him in the comedic part of this movie. The audience certainly responded to Funny Eddie.

Robert De Niro didn't quite coast as the 20+ year veteran cop, but the constant "Damn, I'm constipated" look he's been wearing on his face in movies lately, is wearing kind of thin. Paradoxically, it fit his character here; but I'm itching to see the De Niro who was so good at his craft that he sent chills down my spine, show up again. And because of this movie's PG-13 rating, firebrand Rene Russo wasn't called on to fill the Obligatory Warm Place To Put It role. A Good Thing, sure; but she and De Niro's daughter Drena as Chase's assistant, Annie, don't get to do much besides act as virtual interior decorators.

Coming off his parody-of-self turn in Miss Congeniality, William Shatner is fun - if you haven't already seen his bits in the trailers for this movie. But Mos Def and Frankie Faison's talents are left untapped; and as Master Criminal Vargas, Pedro Damian falls far short of an Alan Rickman circa Die Hard, with the weakest Rilly Bad Guy backstory I've seen in a long while. Once Showtime moves away from its jabs at typical cop movies and settles into a lame stop-the-Rilly-Bad-Guy flick, the point of Showtime gets washed right down the drain.


BAMMER'S BOTTOM LINE
Showtime is kinda groovy - until you stop to think about it. You may be well out of the theater by then, but disappointment hits when you realize, past Murphy's laff-riot, that this parody ends up being a parody of itself.


SHOWTIME:   fyellow

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And that's the way I see it.

Rose "Bams" Cooper
3BlackChicks Review™
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002
EMAIL: bams@3blackchicks.com    ICQ: 7760005
http://www.3blackchicks.com/

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More 3BlackChicks™ review(s) for this week:
(entertainment reviewed week of 3/15/02):
Bams' reviews:
Showtime | Ice Age
The Rookie (sneak preview)

The Diva's reviews:
Showtime | Resident Evil


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