Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!; Parody, USA, 1988; D: David Zucker, S: Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, Ricardo Montalban, George Kennedy, O. J. Simpson

Los Angeles. After Officer Nordberg gets wounded in an unsuccessful raid at drug smugglers, Lieutenant Frank Drebin suspects that the respected millionaire Vincent Ludowig is behind it all. He and his partner Ed fail to find any evidence, though. Drebin meets Ludowig's secretary Jane and the two of them start a relationship. However, it turns out Ludowig plans to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to a baseball game. Luckily, Drebin prevents the assassination and ends up with Jane.

Once an excellent film, "The Naked Gun" is today just a good comedy which got dated due to its too cartoonish jokes that set it back like an anchor sets back a ship. The famous Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker trio had a sense for a funny parody in the 80s and 90s, but some of them weren't so great or didn't age well due to the too emphasized silly jokes over the more sophisticated ones, which is one of the setbacks of the slightly overhyped "Naked Gun" trilogy, despite an excellent Leslie Nielsen. The opening is brilliant: in Beirut, numerous "Persona non grata" leaders gather at a private session and plan activities against the USA, among them Idi Amin, Yasser Arafat and Ayatollah Khamenei. In one hilariously sympathetic moment, Muammar Gaddafi speaks out his plan in which he wants to destroy some American cities, but Mikhail Gorbachev says it's not a good idea, whimsically explaining: "You would destroy years of good public relations! Some of Americans actually started believing I was a nice guy! In some polls, I'm even more popular than their president!" Of course, then Frank Drebin shows up and beats them all up, warning them: "And don't ever let me catch you guys in America!" A wonderfully written, pure comedy exposition, but sadly its mostly downhill from there. There are simply too many heavy handed or crude jokes, like the one where Drebin accidentally enters a woman's room holding a concrete penis in his hand, which make the film not that fun anymore, yet the screenplay still has a lot of reasons for the viewers enjoying in its material.


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