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Showtime Original Taking the Heat

A streetwise female cop escorts a reluctant witness across the mean streets of New York City in "Taking the Heat," a romantic comedy-drama that's short on romance, comedy and drama.

A streetwise female cop escorts a reluctant witness across the mean streets of New York City in “Taking the Heat,” a romantic comedy-drama that’s short on romance, comedy and drama.

Michael Norell (Tony Goldwyn) is introduced as a self-centered corporate raider who witnesses the murder of a store owner by crime boss Tommy Canard (Alan Arkin), and then balks at helping the cops, personified by sergeant Carolyn Hunter (Lynn Whitfield). And he’s the hero.

A couple of months pass, Norell is subpoenaed to testify, and Hunter — now a detective, so she doesn’t have to wear the unflattering uniform — is assigned to escort him to the courthouse.

New York is suffering a hot spell, communications are broken down, and when the duo find themselves pursued by baddies, she’s unable to reach cop shop for aid; apparently the only phone number she knows is the central operator.

Improbabilities (to put it mildly) pile up, starting with the presence of witness Norell and crime boss Canard in a sporting goods shop after hours, continuing through local toughs stripping Hunter’s car while she’s gathering up her witness, and one bad guy who — with no more sense than a doorknob — fails to get out of the way of a truck that’s backing into him.

There’s a “Home Alone” ripoff — um, homage — involving a booby-trapped den of junkies, and a singularly pointless chase through an operating room with surgery in progress.

Goldwyn and Whitfield display no chemistry, even as their relationship ostensibly heats up; theirs is one of the least-convincing kisses in screen history.

Good supporting actors are wasted — Arkin portraying his mobster as though he’d been watching too many old Sheldon Leonard TV cameos, and mustachioed George Segal bearing an uncanny resemblance to John Astin.

Peter Boyle appears briefly as an acerbic judge. Though his is another cliched part, Boyle gets many of the pic’s best lines and knows what to do with them. But Goldwyn’s character is such a dud that when he’s about to sleep with Hunter — who’s wearing an eyepatch for no reason except to set up the line — the line scripter Dan Gordon comes up with is “Christ, it’s like going to bed with a pirate.” Duh.

Later, to be fair, he does get one good line: “Safe sex is very important to me, too — I’ve been wearing a condom all day.”

A couple of nice moments feature Rachel York as Segal’s secretary and Largo Woodruff as one of Norell’s former girlfriends, but don’t blink.

There’s some nudity (York; all the men sleep in their jammies, even when they’re having sex) and a couple of naughty words to make the film cable-worthy. Tech credits are fine.

Showtime Original Taking the Heat

(Sun. (6), 9-10:35 p.m., Showtime)

  • Production: Filmed in New York City and Toronto by Hoffman/Israel Prods. in association with Viacom Pictures. Exec producers, Gary Hoffman, Neil Israel; line producer, Fred Blankfein; director, Tom Mankiewicz; script, Dan Gordon.
  • Crew: Camera, Bob Stevens; editor, Ed Abroms; production designer, Susan Longmire; art director, Alta Louise Doyle; sound, Bill McMillan, Ross Redfern; music, Patrick Williams.
  • Cast: Cast: Tony Goldwyn, Lynn Whitfield, George Segal, Will Patton, Peter Boyle, Lou Grifasi, Alan Arkin, Greg Germann, Rachel York, Alex Carter, Eddie Mekka, Paul Lazar, Frankie Crocker, Santino Buda, Larry McLean, Marco Bianco, John Stoneman Sr., Ken Quinn, Derek Dyal, Madelyn Atkins, Dave Harvey, Stella Sprowell, Earl Williams, Philip Williams, Bernard Browne, Aion Egars, Jim Walton , Marvin Ishmael, Cliff Wooner, Tex Konig, Thom Bell, Largo Woodruff, Raymond A. Sare, Alan Murley, Jonathan Hartman, Emmanual Dark, Theresa Toya, Alexander King , Nicholas Pasco, Kevin Filon, Scott Wickware, Dianne Heatherington, Joe Sealy, Warren Dexter Beatty, Neil Navuto, Elena Kudara, Ted Hanlan, Bonnie Beck, Al Cerullo, Sandi Stahlbrand, Sonja Davis, John Stoneman Jr., Branno Racki, Dwayne McLean, Ceci Vendrell.
  • Music By: