95 Min | Action – Comedy – Crime | May 2002
IMDB Rating: 5.5
Director: Tom Dey
Starring: Robert De Niro, Eddie Murphy, Rene Russo
Showtime Review: If you’ve seen the trailer for Showtime, you pretty much know what to expect, because what you see here is what you get. And even if you haven‘t seen the previews, it won’t take you long to pick up on what you’re in for – specifically, a good time and plenty of laughs – from this clever satire of ‘Reality TV’ shows and ‘Buddy Cop’ movies, ‘Showtime,’ directed by Tom Dey, starring Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy. Mitch Preston (De Niro) is a detective with the L.A.P.D., and he’s good at what he does, but working a case one night, things suddenly go south when another cop, Trey Sellars (Murphy), inadvertently intervenes, a television news crew shows up and Mitch loses his cool, which results in a lawsuit by the television station that’s going to cost the department some big bucks. Except that they may be able to get around it, thanks to Chase Renzi (Rene Russo), who works for the station and likes what she sees in Mitch – enough to pitch an idea to her boss for a ‘Reality’ cop show, that would feature none other than Mitch Preston, whom Chase sees as a real life ‘Dirty Harry.’
Showtime is Dey’s second film as a director, his first being ‘Shanghai Noon,’ – also a comedy – and he’s definitely showing a penchant for the genre. From the opening frames he establishes a pace that keeps the story moving right along, and he allows his stars to make the most of their respective talents and personal strengths, including their impeccable timing. With stars like De Niro and Murphy, Dey, of course, had a leg up on this project to begin with, but he’s the one who keeps it on track, demonstrating that he knows what works, achieving just the right blend of physical comedy and action, and employing the subtleties of the dialogue to great effect. There isn’t a more natural actor in the business than De Niro, and he steps into Mitch’s skin like he was born to it. And after years of doing hard-edge, cutting drama, with such films as ‘Analyze This,’ ‘Meet the Parents’ and now this one, he has firmly established his proficiency for doing comedy, as well.
Russo makes the most of her role as Chase, too, a character who isn’t much of a stretch artistically, but whom she presents delightfully, with a strong, believable performance. And William Shatner (playing himself) absolutely steals a couple of scenes as the director of the show. The supporting cast includes Drena De Niro (Annie), Pedro Damian (Vargas) and James Roday (Camera Man). Well crafted and delivered, ‘Showtime’ is a comedy that’s exactly what it is meant to be: Pure entertainment that provides plenty of laughs and a pleasant couple of hours that will have you chuckling for some time after. Showtime is the magic of the movies.