(out of 5)

 plays a badass cop who shoots a television camera and incurs the wrath of the network that owned it, then told he can make up for it by taking part in a new reality-based television series invented by a perpetually creative executive ().  Giving him a loud-mouthed rookie cop () as a partner, the television team spends the entire film coming up with exciting television while angry DeNiro is trying to crack a real case involving a drug dealer and a high-powered custom-made weapon that has now landed in the wrong hands. The characters are always having a good time, and it’s fun to watch them, but the film never makes a point, and worse never even seems to try. A lack of any popular reaction to the reality show keeps us from having the Truman Show perspective that might have something to say about our obsessions with reality-TV; on top of that, the case involving the weapons deal is never exciting or climactic (the thrilling car chase is just loud). Cast here is a plus, but it’s not like they’re surpassing themselves in any way: DeNiro is trading off on his funny man side, and Murphy is marvelous but it’s the kind of fast-talking improvisational comedy he can do in his sleep. Only Russo manages to show a new side to herself, a funny, quick-thinking, Capra-esque heroine who is something of the equally sexy but more loopy twin sister to her Catherine Banning character in The Thomas Crown Affair. If the script for Showtime had met up with the likes of a filmmaker halfway intelligent or interested in making a statement, it would be worth remembering and might live up to the standards of its Rush Hour meets EdTV premise; as it stands it’s just Saturday-matinee trash that you won’t feel the slightest bit of guilt for enjoying.

, , , ,

USA/Australia, 2002

Directed by

Story by , Screenplay by , ,

Cinematography by

Produced by , Jorge Saralegui

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

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