Everyone’s familiar with the parody movies that seem to have been shoved in our faces as of recent years, most namely the movies which have been produced by Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg (Scary Movie franchise, Date Movie, etc.)
But what about the movies who aim to parody certain genres of film, and do it in a way that’s humorous and entertaining. That brings us to today’s flick, “The Naked Gun: From the Files of the Police Squad!”, based off of a short-lived TV series, “Police Squad”. All three flicks in the series parody cop movies, though on occasion other genres get thrown into the mix. Although the majority of what happens is extremely ridiculous and absurd, chances are that you’ll be too engrossed by each gag to even care.
The first “Naked Gun” (1988) introduces us to bumbling detective, Lieutenant Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen), as he investigates a sinister plan to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II when she attends an upcoming baseball game. Along the way, he falls in love with Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley), the ditsy assistant of prime suspect Victor Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban).Amid all the pratfalls and silliness, can Drebin crack the case?
The first sequel, “The Smell of Fear”(1991), has Drebin and Jane break up, and Jane begins dating oil company executive, Quentin Hapsburg (Robert Goulet), of whom Debin instantly becomes jealous. Little does he know that Hapsburg is the ringleader behind a plot to kidnap a scientist (Richard Griffiths), and replace him with a commoner.
Finally, “The Final Insult”(1994) sees Drebin and Jane married, but they’re in a bind in their marriage. Drebin is pulled out of retirement and infiltrates a prison to sneak out notorious criminal, Rocco Dillon (Fred Ward), who has a rather devious plan up his sleeve…
The “Naked Gun” movies might not be everyone’s cup of tea, due to the sheer amount of silliness scattered throughout. However, some viewers may still find it hilarious, especially those who are into cop shows and would like to see this style lampooned.
Leslie Nielsen typically acts as the straight man to the chaos surrounding him, and he fares well in that role. Priscilla Presley additionally shows us that she is capable of holding her own against Nielsen when acting alongside him. Despite all of the implausibility in the series, you care about the story and what happens to the main characters. The franchise also features former American football player O.J. Simpson as the comically accident prone Detective Nordberg. Unfortunately, both his acting and football career were eclipsed by his infamous scandal in his personal life…
The “Naked Gun” series as a whole receives four out of five stars from me. Kids from the ages of 11 and up may appreciate the physical humour more than younger kids, although there are some subtle sexual jokes and references which could fly over their heads. Nevertheless, if you enjoyed the series, I’d recommend “Airplane”!, also by the Zucker brothers.