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HTF REVIEW: "Showtime" (with screenshots)

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#1 of 21 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 29 2002 - 09:16 PM

Posted Image


Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 2002
Rated: PG-13
Film Length: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)

Lights. Camera. Aggravation.

I feel my function as a reviewer for this forum
should be more than just telling you how good or
bad an upcoming DVD looks. Let's face it -- most
all new "A" titles generally look exceptional and
it's getting harder to find fancy words to describe
just how good a DVD looks. Since this is the case,
I think it is even more important to help you
watch your wallet, either steering you towards or
away from a movie you may not have yet seen but
were considering to purchase or rent.

Now that I have truly found the light and know
what my quest as a reviewer should be, may I try
to do everything I can in this review to steer you
away from this dog of a film called Showtime.

Director Tom Dey - who partnered Jackie Chan and Owen
Wilson in Shanghai Noon - brings us this so-called
comedy that stars Robert DeNiro and Eddie Murphy,
two of the screen's hottest stars who never seem to
ignite any spark or chemistry thanks to the film's
lackluster screenplay.

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De Niro plays Mitch Preston, an L.A. police detective
with a gruff, no-nonsense demeanor. As film opens,
Mitch is about to bust an undercover drug until it
gets spoiled by an overanxious uniformed cop named
Trey Sellars (Murphy), who is aspiring to be an actor.
Mitch's furious reaction to the situation lands him
in some hot water with the media and his boss.

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TV producer Chase Renzi(Rene Russo) wants to create
a reality series in which a camera crew follows
Mitch around and catches him being surly and angry.
Thanks to some particularly volatile behavior from
Mitch, he either has to agree to be filmed or else get sued.
He unwillingly agrees to do the reality series.

Posted Image

Because Mitch is such a gruff character, Chase
Renzi must team him up with someone that is more
charming and likeable. That person is Trey sellers.
This is his dream come true -- never mind the fact
that Mitch can't stand the sight of him. With some
coaching by veteran star William Shatner (himself),
Mitch and Trey are poised to become the stars of
the biggest hit reality show in television history.

It's sad to see that Robert DeNiro, one of the
greatest actors of our time, keeps selling himself
out to films like this. I think it would be
painfully obvious by now that DeNiro is not a good
comedy actor, and without a funny script like this,
Eddie Murphy isn't funny, either.

How is the transfer?

Like all recent Warner Brothers releases, this
transfer is excellent. Picture is very smooth and
film-like with sharp detail and absolutely no grain.
Flesh tones run a little red. Colors look quite
good -- especially the beautiful neon colors of
Mitch's redecorated apartment. All in all, this
transfer holds up quite well.

Posted Image

The 5.1 Dolby Digital surround track is quite
aggressive and well balanced with the rears
providing support for helicopter flyovers and a
high-speed chase through the streets of Los Angeles.
I found the sound to be very "bass-heavy", providing
a lot of low level support for its hip-hop soundtrack
that also features some great oldies by Ray Charles
and James Brown. What is most impressive about the
sound here is the LFE channel that adds an incredible
amount of punch to the gunfire -- and wait till you
see this gun! Overall, a highly explosive and
satisfying audio mix with lots of subwoofer rumble.

Special Features

Posted ImagePosted Image

First up is a Full-length running commentary
by Director Tom Dey and Producer Jorge Saralegui.
The two do a very lively job of keeping the commentary
interesting by giving us interesting tidbits about
each scene. During the film's initial crime bust,
Tom and Jorge talk about the police technical advisor
they had on this film who told them many stories of
how the press and news copters in LA scan the police
bands and often get in the way. There was a
purposeful need to get away from the cliche' cop
films that get shot in LA by shooting scenes in
different locales that don't normally get shown in
films. The two jokingly talk about how they dressed
up the apartments of both Eddie Murphy and Robert
DeNiro, trying to capture the true essence of both
men. It's kind of cool to watch a piece of film
while listening to the two filmmakers talk about the
different ideas they initially had for a scene and
why they chose to go another route.

There are approximately 13 minutes of Additional
. These scenes include:

* Mitch visiting his old partner in the hospital.
His partner urges him not to get hooked up with a
knucklehead partner. Of course, we know what follows...

* Eddie Murphy at home receiving a phone call
telling him that he won the audition and got the part.

* An extended sequence of the Showtime party.

* A bunch of closed-curtain improvs by Eddie Murphy.

None of this added material is particularly funny,
and it adds nothing to the film. The material is
in finished widescreen form. You can opt to play
these scenes with or without commentary by the
Director and the Producer.

Posted Image

William Shatner gets into his TV cop persona, hamming
it up for laughs in The Making Of Showtime.
This cop with moisturized skin introduces us to the
film's leading actors and then hands it all over to
Director Tom Dey who gives us the background story
of the film. DeNiro, Murphy and Russo are all
featured here giving us insight into their characters.
We get some quick glimpses of the on-location shots
including the North Hollywood shootout. Eddie Murphy
jokes about how his age has affected the way he takes
home the sores of doing heavy action work. Lawyer
Johnny Cochran evens adds his point-of-view of video
being used in crime situations.
(length: approx. 14 minutes)

There is a nice detailed cast and crew
filmography that you can actually click on every
single name and get background information. As
many of you know this feature has been limited with
with some recent Warner releases.

The film's original theatrical trailer is

Rounding out the extras is DVD-ROM content
that takes you to a Warner website that contains
promotional material.

Final Thoughts

It's a shame to see such a well-rounded cast of
high profile actors come apart at the seams in a
movie as bad as this one. For just over 90 minutes,
you basically sit and watch DeNiro doing his best
Walter Matthau impersonation as Eddie Murphy strains
to get a single laugh. I was poker-faced throughout
the entire film which ended with a blooper reel
during its final credits. Funny...the entire film
seemed like one big blooper reel.

Rent this first.

Release Date: August 13, 2002


Ronald J Epstein
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#2 of 21 OFFLINE   Nick Sievers

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Posted July 29 2002 - 10:14 PM

Thanks for the review. I was one of the few that caught this at the cinema and I was also one of the few from that group that thought it actually wasn't 'that' bad. It did generate a few laughs, for me anyway. This title would be just under recommendation from me. If you were planning on buying this sight unseen, I would strongly recommend renting as well. I know I won't be buying it, but it will get a rent in my household.
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#3 of 21 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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Posted July 30 2002 - 01:58 AM

I was planning a rent on this anyhow as it looks a bit tepid. I will disagree that Deniro is a bad comedy actor. Given good material, ie. Meet the Parents, Midnight Run, or Analyze This, he can be quite funny.
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#4 of 21 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted July 30 2002 - 05:45 AM

Well, I'm going to have to buck the trend and still give this one a try. I'm such a big Shatner fan (post Star Trek I Take Myself Very Seriously period) that I'm willing to get this one. I'm probably in the minority but hey, you got to have a guilty pleasure or two, right?

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#5 of 21 OFFLINE   Jeff Adams

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Posted July 30 2002 - 05:45 AM

I never thought this movie looked that good. This one will be a rental. I also disagree. I think DeNiro has done some really good comedies. Meet the Parents was a very funny movie, I loved it.
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#6 of 21 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 30 2002 - 06:47 AM

My feelings haved always been that DeNiro, while being a tremendous actor, does not come across well in comedies. He is not a comedic actor. Most of his successful comedies like Analyze This and Meet The Parents are funny because of his co-stars. He merely plays the straight man. In "Analyze This" I cringed at the sight of this great actor forcing a cry that looked... well...forced. As I stated in my review, DeNiro does his best Matthau impersonation for the length of the film. He's grumpy -- not funny. Of course, as usual, my opinion is not always the popular one.


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#7 of 21 OFFLINE   BrentJ


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Posted July 30 2002 - 09:50 AM

I found Eddie Murphy to be funny. I like the corvette seen where he parks it. Anyways I found it to be a funny movie. Better than some of what Eddie has done in the past few years. Deniro does need to stick to serious movies though.

#8 of 21 OFFLINE   Jenna


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Posted July 30 2002 - 09:59 AM

I would also have to (respectfully) disagree with Ron's comments regarding DeNiro's comedic abilities. I found him to be VERY funny in both Meet the Parents and Analyze This and look forward to the both upcoming sequels. That would be like saying that Jim Carrey and Robin Williams couldn't handle drama. While comedy is their strongpoint, I think they've both proven their dramatic talents as well. As for "Showtime", it didn't interest me enough to see it in the theater, so it'll be a rental or a "wait till it's on HBO" type movie.
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#9 of 21 OFFLINE   MikeEckman



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Posted July 30 2002 - 10:44 AM

The worst part of this movie is that it COULD have been funny. A spoof on buddy cop and Lethal Weapon movies. And then with the addition of Eddie Murphy and Robert DeNiro, on the surface youd think this movie would be a sure fire hit....but alas, I agree with Rons review, this movie isnt even worth a rental. Even if this was a 10 disc SE with the best ever full-bitrate DTS soundtrack and a flawless transfer, I still wouldnt buy it... Maybe someone else will like this movie, but I STRONGLY recommend people rent this before buying it sight unseen.
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#10 of 21 OFFLINE   Jeff Adams

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Posted July 31 2002 - 02:54 AM

Good point Ron. I was actually going to add that to my last post. Ben Stiller and the script is what made Meet the Parents funny. Although DeNiro did make me laugh quite a bit in that film. But totally he is alot better as a serious actor. Playing the bad guy!
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#11 of 21 OFFLINE   Adam_WM



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Posted August 02 2002 - 02:19 PM

Ron, I think you are looking at this movie all wrong. This is supposed to be a comedy buddy-cop movie, not Citizen Kane. I laughed quite a bit in the theater at both DeNiro and Murphy. Who could forget Deniro's line "and THAT is why real cops don't taste drugs" (that might be misworded, I only saw it once, but that's basically the line)? I would recommend that anyone who is interested, rent it. Who knows? You might want to buy it after seeing it once, I did.


#12 of 21 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted August 03 2002 - 05:35 PM

[quote] Ron, I think you are looking at this movie all wrong. This is supposed to be a comedy buddy-cop movie, not Citizen Kane. [quote]

Actually, I think Ron nailed this one. Clunky film that wanted to spoof action flicks but couldn't keep from embracing those cliches. De Niro sleepwalked through the movie. Very disappointing piece that wasted a lot of talent...
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#13 of 21 OFFLINE   Scott Weinberg

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Posted August 13 2002 - 01:51 PM

Though I somewhat enjoyed this flick, I can plainly understand why others wouldn't. The movie is a mess. Made me laugh tho! Solid review Ron!

#14 of 21 OFFLINE   Yumbo



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Posted August 14 2002 - 12:26 PM

I liked it, entertaining action comedy, great sound.

#15 of 21 OFFLINE   Jason Merrick

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Posted August 21 2002 - 07:00 PM

I remember highly anticipating this one as it approached its theatrical release... unfortunately, this movie was another one in a long list of "everything funny was in the trailer". I wanted to like this film, but just couldn't.

#16 of 21 OFFLINE   Randy_M


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Posted August 22 2002 - 12:27 AM

Paid 3 bucks to rent it; semi-enjoyed the thing; returned and largely forgotten. I love Eddie Murphy, though, and will at least rent anything with him in it.

#17 of 21 OFFLINE   Sebastien David

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Posted August 22 2002 - 10:53 AM

De Niro is not a truely good comedic actor. What makes him funny in movies such as Meet the Parents and Analyze This! is the contrast between the roles we usually associate with him and the comedic one he is playing in the spoof/comedy. I mean, how freaking funny is it to see Mr. Robert DeNiro himself say "Yeh, I got stress doctor!" and break down crying??? Anybody who saw his other movies will laugh. -Seb

#18 of 21 OFFLINE   jacob w k

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Posted August 22 2002 - 12:13 PM

Isn't the premise somewhat similar to 15 Minutes which also starred DeNiro who played a policeman. Although it wasn't the central focus of the movie, lots of it revolved around Deniro's characters relationship with the media. It seems like the comedy version of that movie.
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#19 of 21 OFFLINE   LukeB



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Posted August 22 2002 - 02:30 PM

Anyone who thinks De Niro doesn't have comedy chops needs to rent Midnight Run immediately. He may not get laughs by doing absurd/silly stuff, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's just being the "straight man." That would be to sell his comedy skills short, and he definitely has solid comedy skills.

#20 of 21 OFFLINE   LennyP


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Posted August 24 2002 - 11:52 PM

Yes, DeNiro is a great actor and CAN do comedy as well, it's just not Adam Sandler kind of comedy. If being serious or/and mad brings laughs, that should be just as an accomplishment as when an actor acts silly. Just takes different people to appreciate various kinds of humor, some like fart jokes, some don't. I like the media involvment in 15 Minutes and Showtime, and found both of them very satisfying, I own DVDs of both and would recommend to fans of the two leads, but Rene Russo and Shatner are barely visible.
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