Showtime [2002]

Can a buddy-cop parody still qualify as a good buddy-cop movie? Showtime struggles to prove it's possible, and with a few solid laughs it almost succeeds. No movie starring Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro could be a total turkey, and their pairing--as (respectively) a brash patrol cop/wannabe actor and a seasoned detective with zero tolerance for showmanship--yields a few choice moments of slick, professional comedy. Still, most of Showtime represents a missed opportunity, squandering Rene Russo's talent as a TV producer who casts Murphy and De Niro in a buddy-cop reality show that turns them into overnight celebrities. In an effort to repeat the modest success of Shanghai Noon, director Tom Dey capitalizes on the casual chemistry of his leads (especially Murphy, who outshines his costars) until parody succumbs to routine action involving big guns and bad guys. With a sharper sense of satire, this passable entertainment could have been a comedy juggernaut. --Jeff Shannon

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