Showtime is familiar with all the buddy cop movies that have come out of Hollywood in the last 20 years. Therefore, rather than duplicating the cliches, the film has fun spoofing them, up until the last 15 minutes. This way, rather than sit through another tiresome scene when the chief orders our hero to hand over his gun and badge, we can laugh when Robert De Niro asks his chief, “What do you want me to do now? Hand over my gun and badge?”
De Niro plays Mitch Preston, a lonesome, veteran, no-nonsense officer who has a very funny opening monologue at an elementary school, talking about how he never had to choose between the red and blue wire, and what will happen if anyone breaks the law in “his city.” We also meet Trey Sellars (Eddie Murphy), a younger and much louder cop who’s primary job is to put the caution tape around a crime scene, thus enabling him to turn his interests to other professions, like acting.
Enter Chase Ramsey (Rene Russo, who still looks good entering middle age) as a TV producer with plans for a new type of reality show. Ramsey sees Preston’s name all over the media after a fight with a cameraman ended with him shooting the cameraman’s lens. She knows she has the perfect cop for half of her TV show, but it is not until Preston is threatened with suspension before he agrees.
Preston’s “younger, minority-type partner” is chosen thanks to a clever improvisation scene in which Sellars has a friend help him get Ramsey’s attention. This is one of the few scenes with Russo that work, for the most part, however, her character is a clich