Showtime (2002)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Odd Couple Film, Police Comedy, Showbiz Comedy  |   Release Date - Mar 15, 2002 (USA)  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Pointlessly silly and dumb, this onscreen pairing of Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro is never quite sure if it wants to be a buddy action flick with comic moments along the lines of 48 Hrs. (1982) or a buddy comedy with action sequences like Midnight Run (1988). Without the sparkling dialogue of the latter, or the chemistry between its lead actors of the former, this cliché-ridden debacle is nowhere near as funny or exciting as it should be, given the talents of its stars. Murphy does his best fast-talking jive and De Niro puts on his sourest scowl, but the two never quite gel, making third-act scenes of their "bonding" almost painful to watch. Neither is given a particularly sympathetic or lively character to play, and the action plot following the acquisition of a super-powered machine gun by a foreign accent-sporting drug dealer is just plain boring. After it becomes clear that they are not spoofing or parodying the character utilized in buddy cop flicks since the Reagan Era, every single scene of the gruff, abusive superior (played by Frankie R. Faison) should have been quickly excised or rewritten. You know you're in deep, serious trouble when the funniest thing in your comedy is William Shatner lampooning himself -- not as Captain Kirk but as T.J. Hooker. The makers of Showtime should have learned their lesson in the late '80s and early '90s when films like this ended up in the quickly forgotten file, but they didn't, so their film can now join same scrap heap as The Hard Way (1991), Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992), and Last Action Hero (1993).