Showtime

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Detective Mitch Preston (Robert De Niro) is not having a good day. After Officer Trey Sellars (Eddie Murphy) mistakenly thinks Preston for a crook going on a drug deal; all hell breaks loose! Preston is on TV and Sellars has let the bad guys get away. In the heat of his anger, Preston shoots a camera and therefore breaking it. The media company that owns the camera then sues the LAPD for $10 million and as a plea bargain must feature a "real-life" cop drama with two "real-life" cops. Mitch Preston is a hard-nosed cop that only wants to do his job, but as for Trey Sellars; he’s a struggling actor and this job has his name written all over it. So can two equally opposite members of the same police force team up and conquer crime while at the same time make a hit TV show that saves a network? Sure they can…

As part of the ever-going series of "buddy cop" movies like "Lethal Weapon" and "Rush Hour", this follows right in their tracks (and odd how in all of these, it’s a black man paired with someone else). De Niro is noted for his dramatic roles and plays it to a tee here, though mixing in some comic elements. Eddie Murphy is, in my opinion, one of the funniest men alive and does a great job here as well. But first the rest of the plot…the main story focuses around Casear Vagas (Pedro Damian) who has perhaps the coolest-looking and sounding gun in the world. The opening drug bust that went bad is now coming back to haunt Mitch and they must put Caesar away or risk getting blown away themselves. Add to this the fact that they have to deal with Chase Renzi (Rene Russo) and her cohort, Annie (Drena De Niro…can anyone say nepotism)? Annie and Chase are constantly worrying about one thing, how the show looks and what it takes to improve it. But they are a mentors to Trey and Mitch.

While "Showtime" is a tad predictable (put it this way, if you want to save yourself an hour and a half, just watch the trailer), it is a bit funny. Yes, Robert De Niro has somewhat abandoned his dramatic roots in the past few years (with roles in "Analyze This", "Meet the Parents" and so on), but he is good here. Eddie Murphy is back in form as well as the struggling actor/cop who just wants to be discovered. Thankfully the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously as the film is littered with references to "real-life" events and even pokes fun at itself from time to time. You know what you’re in for when you pop this disc in and that’s a good thing.

Video: How does it look?

Showtime is the latest of the Warner Brothers titles to get the separate "Widescreen" and "Full Screen" editions. While some might just make a two disc set and throw both of them in the same package, we get two distinct versions here. Showtime is filmed in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio that is indeed enhanced for widescreen TV’s. The film is brand new and, of course, new to DVD and the transfer is almost flawless. There are a few instances in which I saw some grain, but for the most part it looks great. Colors are bright and vivid, fleshtones look accurate and the level of detail is amazing. I noticed a bit of edge enhancement in a few scenes, but nothing to worry about. While not reference-quality, it’s a good-looking effort.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio is a bit more impressive than that of the video. A pair of Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are housed on the disc (French and English) and you don’t have to wait very long for them to kick in. During the opening scene, a rather strange gun is used while the bad guys flee. It sounds awesome, sort of like the gatlin gun used in "Predator". Every time the gun is used (and they use it a few times) it sends the sound into overdrive and the LFE kick in. The dialogue is great and the overall depth of the soundtrack is great. Not much to complain about here, and it’s a treat to have a movie sound like this!

Supplements: What are the extras?

The back of the DVD box says that this is "Locked and Loaded" with special features, but they aren’t as plentiful as you might expect. The first is a screen specific audio commentary with Tom Dey and Jorge Saralegui (the Director and the Producer respectively). They offer up a rather good track and I seem to remember another movie by Tom Dey entitled "Shanghai Noon" in which there was a good commentary track as well. While not the most informative out there, it’s better than a lot I’ve heard and encourage any fans of the movie to take a listen. An HBO First Look features "The Making of Showtime", an aptly-titled featurette that is like so many others we’ve seen. Interviews with Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy and spliced in with clips from the movie get you "in the mood" to watch the feature. Next up are a series of deleted scenes, some of which overlap the closing titles. They are shown in a non-anamorphic widescreen and are available with or without commentary. Some cast and crew bios and a theatrical trailer are also included.

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