dir Tom Dey
scr Keith Sharon, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
with Robert DeNiro, Eddie Murphy, Rene Russo, Frankie R Faison, William Shatner, Pedro Damian, Mos Def, TJ Cross, Drena DeNiro, Kadeem Hardison, Nestor Serrano, Johnnie Cochran
release US 15.Mar.02; UK 3.May.02
02/US 1h35

3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
lights. camera. aggravation. There's a nice twist to this buddy cop movie--it's still the standard action comedy, but it at least starts out with a knowing grin, making fun of cop-action cliches before completely giving in to the genre. Mitch (DeNiro) is a crabby detective who, after a bit of negative publicity, is forced to let a reality TV crew (led by perky producer Russo) follow him on his job. As if that weren't enough, he's partnered with the showboating Trey (Murphy), a cop who wants to be an actor. Despite Mitch's unwillingness to play along, the show is a huge hit and starts getting in the way of his big case.

Knowing humour and deadpan performances make this film thoroughly entertaining, even though we want it to be much smarter than it is. Undermining cop show formulae is great fun, but the filmmakers just can't resist giving in, and as it progresses the film actually becomes the butt of its own jokes. It's basically a case of lazy screenwriters who can't be bothered to follow through on their own creative idea. Fortunately, the actors keep it worth watching. DeNiro plays it so straight that we hardly notice his razor sharp comic instincts; while Murphy is never better than when he's making fun of his own star persona, which he does here (most of the time). And Shatner (playing himself) is hilarious as DeNiro's TV-cop coach. It's a pity the filmmakers couldn't think of anything more intelligent than the bog standard action comedy conclusion: stunts and effects gone absolutely mad! After the early promise of something witty and knowing, it's just another mindlessly enjoyable romp after all.
themes, language, violence cert 12 12.Apr.02

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
lights. camera. aggravation. send your review to Shadows... "This is a silly action-type adventure movie - not a lot of depth but a lot of silly scenes, jokes and enough action and loud noises to keep you awake, should you feel the least bit drowsy. It is fun and silly, and does not pretend to be more than that - a funny, silly action comedy. The actors seem to have fun playing their parts, and it made us laugh." --Laurie T, Minneapolis 1.Apr.02
2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall