Common Sense Media says
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie has a lot of action violence, including a special highly destructive gun that can blow up a car or knock down a house. Characters are killed (offscreen). Characters deal in drugs and illegal weapons. The police violate police procedure and abuse the rights of suspects and prisoners, manipulating one into talking without his lawyer present and getting into a fistfight with others. Characters use strong language, including comic sexual references.
What's the story?
In SHOWTIME, Robert DeNiro plays Mitch, a tough, seen-it-all police detective who just wants to everyone to stay out his way so he can do his job. Eddie Murphy is Trey, a cop who wants to be an actor. Both end up in a new "reality TV" series produced by Chase (Rene Russo) called "Showtime." As Mitch and Trey try to track down a gun dealer, cameras and a satellite uplink follow them everywhere they go.
Is it any good?
The brilliant timing and utter fearlessness when it comes to looking goofy that DeNiro showed in Analyze This and Meet the Parents gets kicked up a notch higher for inspired silliness in this knowing but affectionate parody of buddy cop films. The movie tries to have it both ways but succeeds best as satire, with some very funny digs at cop shows, reality and otherwise. William Shatner contributes a hilarious performance, directing Mitch and Trey in such time-honored TV cop essentials as jumping on the hood of a car and raising one eyebrow very slightly to indicate that an important statement is about to be made. Chase and her assistant redecorate Mitch's office and apartment to respond to research reports about what viewers like to see, and their matter-of-factness about their notion of "reality" plays off of DeNiro beautifully.
The movie's action plotline is less effective, requiring even more suspension of disbelief than usual. Despite protestations from Mitch that real cops are nothing like those on television, he ends up behaving like a TV cop, throwing punches and mistreating a suspect. That seems out of character for both Mitch and the movie.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether "reality television" is an oxymoron. Is it possible to put "reality" on television? How do TV cops differ from real ones?