Salt and Pepper
Review by Ross Anthony

A matter-of-fact detective (De Niro) opens the picture explaining that his job "aint nothin'" like you might see on TV or the movies. Cut to Eddie Murphy (playing a street cop/actor-wannebe) articulating every cliché in the book during an audition. A sparkling contrast for sure and one that sets the stage for the unlikely pairing to come.

Grizzly droll De Niro shoots the tape out of news reporters vidcam, but instead of suing, the station forces him to partner with Murphy for a new (better than "cops") reality series: "Showtime."

An interesting idea that indeed bares some very funny fruits. But between the berries, there are plenty of dry twigs. Rene Russo (series producer) performs below average, as do most other minor characters. Murphy performs average, and De Niro only slightly above. Still, it's these two (plus a few genuinely solid gags) that pull this film out of the depths it digs for itself.

Other than some sticky, poorly acted and edited sequences, "Showtime" becomes the silly "buddy cop" film it so enjoys poking fun at. Which isn't horrible, nor is it great. But it's the ending where the film really kicks itself in the butt. Huge lapses in logic make way for an awkwardly paced, bit of nonsense with sparse action, (seemingly) with the hopes that De Niro and Murphy will make it work.

The film may lose your respect much earlier on when a scumbag bad guy opens fire with a machine gun that shoots bullets the size of salt shakers but fails to even wound two cops 10 feet in front of him.

Still, De Niro and Murphy are never boring and this rickety, messy film remains slightly amusing ... so we'll give it a B.

My favorite part: A zealous cameraman runs after the two cops in pursuit and flips over a fire hydrant.

Oh ... and there's a fun cameo by William Shatner ribbing his earlier TJ Hooker roll.

  • Showtime. Copyright © 2002. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Robert De Niro, Eddie Murphy, Rene Russo, Frankie R. Faison, William Shatner.
  • Directed by Tom Dey.
  • Screenplay by Keith Sharon and Alfred Gough & Miles Millar.
  • Produced by Jorge Saraalegui and Jane Rosenthal at Village Roadshow/Warner Bros.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:53:43 PDT