The Naked Gun
For today’s Saturday Replay I decided to re-visit a movie that I recall was a real favorite of mine when I was in middle school, The Naked Gun. I hadn’t seen this police spoof in a long, long time, and wanted to see how it would hold up to my memories.
Leslie Nielsen stars as bumbling police detective Frank Drebin, a member of the LAPD’s elite unit “Police Squad.” When his partner Nordberg (O. J. Simpson) is severely injured in the line of duty Drebin goes on the case and uncovers a plot by evil businessman Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban) to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to Los Angeles. Of course, the plot doesn’t really much matter, as exists as a platform for the type of goofy gags that the writing team of for Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker are famous for.
This was probably the first movie in this genre that I ever discovered, and as such I guess I’ve always been somewhat partial to it. However, having viewed it for the fist time in years, I have to admit that it doesn’t hold up as well as I wish it had. The dialogue isn’t quite as clever as it is in Airplane!, and much of what’s being spoofed is itself so dated that the comedy doesn’t quite hit like it should. (Not to mention that it’s really strange to see O. J. Simpson playing a good guy, (a police detective none the less), even if all he does is get shot, crushed, and otherwise injured.)
Still there are some really genuinely funny moments in this movie. The chase scene where Drebin commandeers a ride from a student driver is fantastic, and the final act, with Drebin standing in for first the singer performing the national anthem, then the home plate umpire at a Major League Baseball game is absolutely classic.
I suppose there’s a reason why I haven’t seen The Naked Gun in so long. It’s funny, and it has some fantastic moments, but, as a spoof, it also has a lot of jokes that are just don’t hold up with time. It’s still a decent comedy, and the baseball segment on its own remains an absolutely essential comedy bit. However, on the whole the film is a mixed bag, but the good definitely outweighs the bad, so it’s definitely Worth Seeing.