The buddy cop film has been a staple of the action film genre for decades. Comedian Eddie Murphy is no stranger to this genre as he burst onto the big screen with “48 Hours” and “Beverly Hills Cop” and followed them both up with sequels. In recent years Murphy has turned to more family oriented fair such as voce work in “Shrek” and “Mulan” as well as the Dr. Doolittle movies.

The comedian once known for his blazing mouth and language, as well as his uncanny appeal and comic genius has returned to his comedy roots in the new film “Showtime”. Joining Murphy, as the other half of the cop duo is screen legend Robert De Niro as Detective Mitch Preston, a solid cop, who does his job in a no-nonsense style that gets the job done. Murphy plays officer Trey Sellars, a cop who spends most of his time guarding police tape lines on duty, and trying out for acting jobs in his off time. The two are about as opposite as cops can be Mitch is professional and conservative, Sellars is flashy and loud, more style than substance.

The two meet during a botched raid, and end up being captured on film by the local media. Sellars for all the wrong reasons and Preston for shooting the camera that was annoying him by filming the events. Faced with a public relations disaster, the department is offered the chance to have the lawsuit against them dismissed by the network if Mitch will star in a new reality based cop show. Of course Mitch wants no part of this, and all the cajoling by the sexy network exec Chase Renzi (Rene Russo), cant change his mind. In the end, Mitch is forced to do the show by his superiors who want to see an end to the lawsuit. With one half of the team in place, Sellars conducts one of the most original and funny auditions in history. Despite not getting along, the two officers are soon on the case of a gunrunner who is bringing a new type of assault weapon into the market that is deadlier than anything ever created. Of course the two will grow to respect one another, as this is the nature of this type of film. What sets this film apart are the stars, Murphy, De Niro, and Russo have a easy-going chemistry and work very well with one another. De Niro has recently taken comedic turns in “Meet the Parents”, and “Analyze This” and is very good playing the straight man to Murphy. William Shatner has a brief role as himself as he is brought in to teach the two how to look sexy for the camera.

Despite the brevity of his role, it is nice to see Shatner have a sense of humor regarding his T.J. Hooker role and make a few loving jokes centered around it that will make those in the audience who can remember the show laugh. While “Showtime” is not a classic movie as it has a generic plot, stereotypical bad guys, and little new that audiences have not seen before, it is a fun movie, and should more than provide a relaxing and enjoyable time at the movies. The direction by Tom Dey is solid and neither of the leads walks over one another in an attempt to steal scenes. I for one would not mind seeing a sequel as the cast worked, and undoubtedly have some further adventures to show audiences.

3.5 stars out of 5