Potato-faced LAPD detective Mitch Preston (De Niro) takes cop movies to task - and expectations raise for this comic thriller. Mitch is teamed with patrol officer and buffoonish thespian Trey Sellars (Murphy) for a reality TV show produced by Chase Renzi (Russo), who needs a hit after faking a flammable baby pyjamas exposé. The casting is an extended in-joke (the three leads have all served time in buddy movies), but the film, far from being a knowing send-up of the genre, plays out the old routines with a disheartening lack of new tricks. A Johnnie Cochran walk-on and a riff on the dual meanings of the word 'shoot' are among the indications that director Dey aspires to satire. Then he stages another car chase or fawns over the villain's arsenal of Really Big Guns, and his true agenda is exposed. Even the out-takes, that last refuge of the desperate director, are abysmal. Alan Silvestri's zany score, which over-eggs every one-liner, deserves special derision.