Mitch Preston (Robert DeNiro), a 28-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, takes his job very seriously. Rookie cop Trey Sellars (Eddie Murphy) has two goals: to break into show business and to pass the detective exam. These opposites collide when Trey mistakes Mitch’s undercover operation to capture a drug czar as a dirty cop making a deal. Trey alerts the media, and TV cameras are soon at the scene. After Mitch shoots out the camera, the not-so-dynamic duo are ordered to become stars of a new, reality-TV cop show to avoid a lawsuit against the department. Trey’s dream come true makes him ecstatic, but Mitch is furious. TV director Chase Renzi (Rene Russo) and her crew follow the odd couple, filming their every move. Non-stop action and laughs should make SHOWTIME a big success at the box office with teenagers and couch potatoes looking for a good time.
There’s no deep message or moral to the story except forget your worries and have a little fun. The problem is not with the humor, which has no sexual content, but frequent, raw dialogue that includes 46 obscenities and six strong profanities. That’s unconscionable in a PG-13 rated film targeted for teen audiences. Action scenes, filled with car chases and crashes, explosions and massive property damage exploit violence. The drug kingpin uses a custom-made assault gun so massive, it destroys a house with two people inside. Although no bodies or gore is seen, the intensity and length of the action scenes seems excessive. Reflecting the loose standards of MPAA ratings, SHOWTIME clearly deserves an R rating for foul language and excessive violence. When will Hollywood learn that entertainment doesn’t require “reality” to be real?