Stars: Robert De Niro, Eddie Murphy, Rene Russo
Director: Tom Dey
Writers: Miles Millar, Alfred Gough, Keith Sharon – Based on a story by Jorge Saralegui

The Good: Hotshot casting, some funny spoof material, good chase sequence.
The Bad: Lukewarm script, almost all funny material already seen in trailers, De Niro’s straight man is too straight and both his and Murphy’s characters are too deja vu.
The Ugly: Rene Russo’s very annoying character, ridiculous setting at a mega gun show in a downtown Los Angeles hotel when everyone knows gun shows are banned in the county. De Niro’s loss as a formidable actor.

This buddy-cop, comedy-action film is so formulaic your eyes glaze over on occasion. And that’s its biggest problem, inspired casting notwithstanding. As a satire of “reality”-type TV shows, the news media and cop flicks, Showtime barely cuts it.

De Niro plays Mitch Preston, a gruff, tough, by the book LA police detective who’s forced to partner with dumb, celebrity hungry, loud-mouthed, street cop Trey Sellers (Murphy), a wannabe detective and/or actor who is lousy at both. The partnering is a boon to Trey and a total bust to the reluctant Mitch because their every move is going to be filmed for the hot new cop “reality TV show called “Showtime”, the brainchild of gung-ho producer Chase Renzi (Rene Russo), who’s convinced the show will elevate her failing network.

She’s all about ratings and appearances, going so far as to hire T.J. Hooker star William Shatner to teach the boys TV cop behavior, redecorating Mitch’s ugly little apartment, redesigning the police station and giving each of her subjects a cool new vehicle that represents their on-screen images. Mitch cringes; Trey can hardly contain his joy. Grumpy and Happy find themselves investigating a murder and trying to find a big time gun runner who’s pushing the world’s biggest, baddest weapon. Chase wouldn’t know reality if it hit her between the eyes.

Amidst all of Chase’s TV trappings and shenanigans, the guys go it, annoying each other and swapping one-liners until the big chase scene through downtown Los Angeles in which Trey proves he has the gumption after all, to maybe, just maybe, one day become a detective. With that, the buddies bond and Chase moves on to find new angles for her hit show.

Lotta says
there are a number of cute moments. You’ll see them coming a mile away. Find De Niro a non-cop non-bad guy drama and let’s see if he can remember how to really act.

Reviewed 3/17/02