Showtime (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

You have to love a film in which Bill Shatner, playing the challenging part of Bill Shatner, teaches Robert DeNiro how to act.

The critics were not kind to this film, citing it as a perfect example of an overproduced and underwritten Hollywood project, the type of movie that spends $80 million on salaries and helicopters, and about 50 cents on a script.

NUDITY REPORT

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Some of that is true. The second half of this film is not good at all, a typical buddy cop movie filled with ludicrous car chases, impossible marksmanship, gun battles with super-sized weapons, and explosions.

But the first half - that is sublime fun!

DVD info from Amazon

Commentary by director Tom Dey and producer Jorge Saralegui
Theatrical trailer(s)
additional scenes, including Eddie Murphy improv
Showtime booth confessionals
3 extended scenes
Visit the set with HBO First Look: The Making of Showtime
Widescreen anamorphic format, 1.85

Robert DeNiro plays a no-nonsense, baggy clothes detective with a ratty apartment and a 25 year old couch. Eddie Murphy plays a barely competent uniformed patrolman who would like to be an actor. A strange twist of fate thrusts them together, not only as partners, but as partners being photographed 24/7 by a reality cop show. Of course, the reality cop show doesn't really want any reality. As DeNiro says, in real life he's never had to choose between a green wire and a red wire. He spends all his time sitting in anterooms waiting to testify, or interviewing dull people. The TV producers don't want cops, they want TV cops. So the first step is to teach the real cops to be TV cops, and who better to do so than T.J. Hooker?

The thing that puzzles me and everyone else about this movie is how it could spend an hour making fun of unrealistic, formula buddy cop shows, then spend the last half hour being the very thing it was ridiculing. Like everyone else, I didn't much care for the rooftop action, the machine gun battles, and the car/helicopter chases in the finale, but I sure liked it when it was just Eddie, DeNiro and Shatner hamming it up for the camera. 

A lot of critics thought it was a bad movie. I don't agree. I thought it was a movie that didn't live up to the potential that it showed us an occasional glimpse of.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two and a half stars. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 2/4, filmcritic.com 4/5

  • General UK consensus: one star. Daily Mail 4/10, Daily Telegraph 1/10, Independent 2/10, The Guardian 4/10, The Observer 4/10, The Times 2/10, Evening Standard 2/10, The Sun 3/10, The Express 2/10, The Mirror 4/10

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 5.9/10, Guardian readers duplicate that 5.9/10
  • with their dollars: the studio lavished $85 million dollars on this film, hoping for a success comparable to Meet the Parents. The rolled it out on a Blockbuster level of 2900 screens. Didn't happen. It grossed only $37 million.

 

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C.

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