ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  tom dey

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  buddy cop

LENGTH  -  92 minutes

RELEASED  -  15 march 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  showtime

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $85,000,000
showtime - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from showtime at

buy the dvd from showtime at

a spoof of buddy cop movies where two very different cops are forced to team up on a new reality based t.v. cop show.

the hotel that is featured at the end of the movie, is the same one used in in the line of fire (1993), also starring rene russo.


picture from showtime

picture from showtime

picture from showtime


one out of four possible stars

There's no denying that Robert DeNiro and Eddie Murphy have talent. But they've both starred in more than one mediocre film. And though there's a lot of humor in Showtime, it's too much of a standard "buddy movie" to be much more than a mildly entertaining night at the movies. Or afternoon, maybe. Catching the matinee of this film would probably be considered more fiscally responsible. But mediocrity aside, it's hard to deny that Murphy and DeNiro have a good bead on that buddy chemistry. The value in this film stems not so much from the idea of the film, the buddy cop story, but from the comedic presence of the two lead stars.

Though their roles might have been better served with some additional separation between their attitudes. The success of the Lethal Weapon franchise was how different "Riggs" and "Murtaugh" were. Mel Gibson was a total loose cannon, while Danny Glover played the straight, down-to-earth cop. The humor came from their differences. But DeNiro and Murphy don't have many differences character-wise to create that inherent comedy. DeNiro wasn't always serious enough and murphy wasn't always funny enough. Now there is a small serious element to the script. It's the underlying plot to the film really didn't match the tone and tempo of the relationship between the two leads. The bad guy of the film, an Eastern European gun runner played by (I'm working on getting the name), is featured through much of the film in two second scenes that show his progress in getting his evil scheme together.

But this story feels almost like a post-script to the main action of the movie. The bad guy's story just doesn't fit together with the rest of the film. And that lack of a tight story seems to permeate the entire film. Like the screenwriter gave the producer the script and was told to throw a few more elements into it within twenty-four hours. The script to this film seemed not to have been the most important part of the equation. Although a good actor can take an uninspiring script and make it decent, sometimes, even the best actors (and we're talking DeNiro here) can't cover up the fact that not a lot of time was spent in script development. It stands to reason that once those two A-list actors were signed to the project, all other creative influences on the film were put on the back burner. Like so many recent releases, the emphasis here seems to have been placed on the casting of two big-name stars.

The deals made at talent agencies so often forget the importance of a good script. Packaging the actors has become more important that the final product. A pair of above-the-line names attached to a film can all but guarantee a film will get green lighted. Granted, the spoofing of the buddy-cop film is a good idea, but in the case of Showtime, that idea just isn't executed with enough intelligence. Sure, Lethal Weapon is a fine film to parody, and it has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Showtime might be making fun of certain films, but the fact remains that those films were successful because a good script allowed the actors to take their roles and make them memorable. In Showtime, DeNiro and Murphy almost parody themselves, without enough effort. DeNiro with his dark, brooding look and Murphy with his quick one liners.

That's not to say that those actors' usual characters don't add a few laughs to the movie. The audience has seen DeNiro play DeNiro and Murphy play Murphy before, but as long as they're successful in some of what they do, the movie can be entertaining. Though DeNiro is known for being the most serious actor on the screen today, it's entertaining to see him play a role in a comedy. He's not as on-the-ball as fellow serious man Tommy Lee Jones (his no-nonsense role in Men in Black illustrates his ability perfectly), DeNiro is able to pull a few laughs from the audience with his stare. And as familiar as Eddie Murphy's comedy may be, he's still able to make a lot of humor with the material given to him in this film.

This film's biggest downfall is not in the talent of its cast (which includes two favorable performances from Rene Russo and William Shatner), but in it's willingness to be adequate. A film's success depends on a variety of factors, a few of them including actors, screenplay, and cinematography. Though it can readily be argued that the actors cast in a given film have the most to do with its success or failure. If some genuine effort had been made on the part of the filmmakers to create a really original film or script, the movie as a whole would have been better.

But it's like the filmmakers just settled for being just good enough. Creativity has been thrown out the window in favor of a few big names above the title on the movie poster. In closing, as a film, Showtime is successful in bringing to the screen a comedy which will entertain the type of audience looking for a picture with no "deep thoughts" or heavy material. It's not a deliberately emotional piece and will give the average moviegoer an entertaining time at the movies. DeNiro and Murphy really do have a lot of talent and for 95 minutes, this film succeeds in creating acceptable entertainment. But in making a film that showcases their talents, the mediocrity in this film overshadows any true talent.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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