Main cast: Robert De Niro (Mitch Preston), Eddie Murphy (Trey Sellars), Rene Russo (Chase Renzi), Pedro Damián (Ceasar Vargas), Frankie Faison (Captain Winship), and William Shatner (himself)
Director: Tom Dey
This tired and only sometimes funny action movie spoof of an action movie (geddit?) will only work if one has the taste for obvious jokes. To get the jokes, we are supposed to understand that see, it’s Robert De Niro playing a gung-ho who doesn’t pretend to be gung-ho! And yes, he just has to drop in “tough” lines from his old gangster movies, just like he did in, oh, every recent movie of his? Really, grandpa’s “Look at me, I’m playing a fuddy-duddy tough guy spoofing my old roles!” schtick is really getting old.
And look, Eddie Murphy playing a guy who can’t act! This may be a casting coup, but come on, everybody knows that Eddie Murphy can’t act. Right? So it’s not that funny.
Showtime never lets me forget that it’s Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy playing themselves. Yet again we have Mr De Niro playing a serious no-nonsense supercop whose undercover drug bust is bungled up by Eddie Murphy’s incompetent cop. This fiasco is covered on some real-life cop show, and now, to save face, the powers-to-be are making these two team up in a reality buddy cop show.
With Chase Renzi as the executive producer, the show, Showtime crosses the fine line between parody and silliness. Apparently, they want to show the real stuff, until the TV folks discover how boring real life cops are. So they improvise, buy our leads new wheels, redecorate the station with props from Robocop, and ask them to do some stunts to liven things up.
Of course, some foreign loonybin is around selling big guns and blowing up noble, innocent Big Applets furriners, send them packing to the Third World ghetto where they crawled from, and our twosome soon find themselves in an explosive finale for the closure.
Am I amused? Sometimes. Eddie Murphy is irritating as the inept actor, because he is inept, although that scene where he deliberately plays to the camera and gives a long-winded sob fest speech about dead fathers and all – that is brilliant. Mr De Niro is sleepwalking, relying on the audience’s reaction to seeing him making monkey faces at the confession booth. Uh, reality check: monkey faces are all he’d been making in his last four movies. Get a new script, man!
Rene Russo, by the way, is completely wasted.
This one is a one-joke movie that never seems to realize when it is outstaying its welcome. It’s not bad, passable for a video night event maybe, but it’s also lacking bite and punch. It’s not quite Showtime, I’m afraid.