Volume 95, Issue 87

Tuesday, March 19, 2002
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It's Showtime! Dazzling cast makes film fun

It's Showtime! Dazzling cast makes film fun


Robert De Niro, Eddie Murphy, Rene Russo, William Shatner

Directed By: Tom Dey

Four stars (out of five)

Gazette File Photo

By Rana Issa
Gazette Staff

Lights, camera, action – it's Showtime, the film about a critically-acclaimed, reality-based television show sweeping the nation, on which you watch the Los Angeles Police Department's finest officers fight crime from the comfort of your own livingroom.

The movie begins with detective Mitch Preston (Robert De Niro) working an undercover sting in an attempt to apprehend drug dealers. Unfortunately, wannabe actor and patrol officer Trey Sellars (Eddie Murphy) stumbles onto the scene and unintentionally sabotages the operation.

A television crew appears, only to have Preston fire his pistol at their camera, shattering it to pieces and, as a result, having his pictured plastered on every television screen in L.A.. In an attempt to make money out of the incident, the television network threatens to sue the police if Preston does not participate in their new project – Showtime.

Preston, the all-work-and-no-play detective, is teamed up with Sellars, who'd rather play a cop on television than be one in real life. Both must put aside their differences and work together to apprehend much-feared Vargas (Pedro Damian).

Chase Renzi (Rene Russo) is thrown into the mix as a network producer who will go to any length to produce her show. Renzi changes the two officers' lives, turning Preston's upside down by making his work into a television show while making Sellars the star of that show.

Robert De Niro gives a stellar performance as a no bull detective forced to try and put up with a charismatic and incompetent partner. De Niro's unique acting style and screen presence is an added luxury to this well-oiled film and cast.

Eddie Murphy's performance reassures audiences that good comedies are not yet extinct. Murphy does an amazing job portraying his character's quirks while using the cameras as props to propel his newfound acting career.

Although Rene Russo only appears in a small portion of the film, her performance is not lacking. She does a solid job as a hard-working TV producer who will get her story by any means necessary, yet still manages to maintain sensitivity and courtesy.

William Shatner has no difficulty playing himself. Shatner's primary goal is to teach Preston and Sellars how to perform stunts, such as jumping over the hood of a car. However, Shatner's lack of physical ability to do these stunts earns him the majority of the movie's laughs.

Showtime is directed by Tom Dey (Shanghai Noon) who does an excellent job showing the audience two separate ways of viewing a film.

The first is through off-screen cameras and the second through on-screen cameras. This technique makes the audience feel as though they are actually viewing the reality show unfold before them, as opposed to a Hollywood production.

The chemistry between De Niro and Murphy is alive on the silver screen and the film is not only amusing, but also a well thought out story – an element that is somewhat scarce in many Hollywood films.

Showtime is an action-packed comedy sure to have its audiences laughing out loud and continuously uttering the catch phrase: "It's Showtime!"

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Copyright The Gazette 2002