Showtime

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"This is America, honey," Rene Russo says. "Everyone wants to be on television."

Robert De Niro doesn't. And he's the one she wants. She's a producer of reality TV and he's a cop who hates cameras.

Eddie Murphy is also a cop, but he's gagging to be an actor. The difference between the two is that De Niro's good at his job and Murphy's a joke. Russo, on the other hand, doesn't take no for an answer. Guess who wins?

The casting is imaginative and surprisingly successful. There is something about Rush Hour in the concept of a black comedian playing a black cop, except Chris Tucker was funnier. De Niro makes no attempt to imitate Jackie Chan. He's plain Bob.

The idea of a cameraman following the two cops around LA, as they attempt to apprehend a powerful drugs baron (Pedro Damian) is awkward, especially when accompanied by a huge white van advertising the show. But this is reality TV, not reality.

The stunts are expensive and effective. At a time when the car chase has become a tired cliché, the one here pulls out all the stops and is, believe it or not, visually exciting.

De Niro plays it straight. Fans of the man won't be disappointed. Murphy controls his natural desire to show off and is twice as effective because of it. As a double act, they work well together.

The movie is never less than watchable and consistently entertaining, but the need to push gags too far keeps tripping it up. The script fails to fulfil its promise. Rather than inspirational, it is workaday.

Reviewed on: 10 May 2002
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Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy are LAPD cops involved in a reality TV series.
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Director: Tom Dey

Writer: Keith Sharon, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar

Starring: Robert De Niro, Eddie Murphy, Rene Russo, Pedro Damian, Dante Beze, William Shatner

Year: 2002

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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