Buddy cop movies continually populate cinemas like rabbits. Most of them are not any good, and Showtime is a great example of this. The movie fares even worse considering the heavy acting power of its stars, Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy. Murphy excelled in this genre in Beverly Hills Cop, and has been on a recent career resurgence. As for De Niro, lately he seems to pick comedic roles, most of which do not suit his abilities. Showtime is nothing more than an amalgamation of various police movie cliches thrown in with explosions to keep the viewer awake. It is a tiring, exasperating experience that is not funny, and really not worth people's time. Presumably, Showtime set out to mock the standard buddy cop movie. Producer Chase Renzi (Rene Russo, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Thomas Crown Affair) wants to produce a reality show with real policemen. She will follow them around and film their exploits, which hopefully will yield high ratings.

Her first choice is Mitch Preston (De Niro, The Score, 15 Minutes). He is a tough, no-nonsense detective who is in serious trouble for shooting a television camera. Chase leverages the threat of a lawsuit over Preston, who reluctantly agrees to be in the show. Preston is a good cop, but a bad actor. His partner for the show is Trey Sellars (Eddie Murphy, Dr. Dolittle 2, Shrek), a wannabe actor and aspiring detective. Sellars is not a good cop, and not a great actor. He likes this situation for two reasons; he can get exposure and publicity, and it allows him the opportunity to possibly advance in the force. The basic outline of Showtime is Preston and Sellars argue and run around, with a camera following them. There is a basic shell of a story Jorge Saralegui, Keith Sharon, and Alfred Gough and Miles MIllar (Shanghai Noon, Made Men). However, the story essentially serves as a placeholder, to allow more gunfights and car chases. Preston and Sellars met when Sellars mistakenly ruined Preston's undercover operation, leading to Preston's shooting of the camera. It turns out that the men Preston was after have access to a lethal gun that shoots huge rounds of armor piercing bullets. So with camera crew in tow, Preston and Sellars are off to solve this mystery of where these guns are coming from and who is supplying them.

In the big picture, those answers really make no difference. It just gives director Tom Dey (Shanghai Noon) the excuse for some supposedly witty banter, and a mutual annoyance that eventually leads to respect and friendship. There are no big secrets in this movie as to what will or will not happen, aside from the revelation about where the guns are coming from, which comes out of nowhere. The interaction between Murphy and De Niro is lifeless and stale. Murphy is better, but nowhere near the top of his form. Russo is nearly completely wasted. At the beginning, Preston mentions that being a real cop doesn't involve car chases, gunfights, and everything people see in movies. The fact that when he teams with Sellars and experiences all these cliches is not funny, it is sad.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 35 minuts, Rated R for action violence, language, and some drug content.

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