Movie #53: The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)

the naked gun poster


Leslie Neilson

Priscilla Presley

Ricardo Montalban

George Kennedy

O.J. Simpson

You’ve seen the movie, now read the review!

Lt. Frank Derbin (Nielsen) investigates the near-fatal shooting of a fellow member of Police Squad, Detective Nordberg (Simpson).  In the process, he discovers that the corrupt Victor Ludwig (Montalban) plans on assassinating Queen Elizabeth II at a California Angels baseball game on her state visit.  In the process Derbin falls for Ludwig’s assistant, Jane (Presley).

What follows is a series of sight gags and general poking fun at every turn.  The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad takes no prisoners and doesn’t take itself seriously for one minute.  Therein lies the genius of this film.

Though this movie isn’t nearly as good as say, Airplane! before it, The Naked Gun benefits from its lead actor, Leslie Neilson.  In comedies, it’s all about timing and presence, and Neilson is excellent at both of these.  His character takes himself very seriously, and while the whole film is one liner after sight gag after funny/awkward moment, he and the rest of the actors don’t miss a beat and continue moving the plot forward.

Perhaps it was the mood I was in, but this movie, while funny throughout, got a little tedious and repetitive for my own liking.  Sight gags work, crude double entendres work, slapstick comedy works.  This movie has more than its fair share of laughs, it definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s unapologetic as it pokes fun at anything and everything.

Maybe it’s the saturation of movies that have come out in the past 6-8 years that are way too over the top and too stupid for their own good (Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, Remember the Spartans, etc.) that have dumbed-down the comedic impact from a film like The Naked Gun.

Maybe you just have to be in the right company, and I wasn’t for this viewing.

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad does a great job of not taking itself too seriously and not apologizing for it.  I don’t remember seeing the two sequels to this film, but will probably do so in the near future since they’re both available on Netflix.  A strong cast and great writing make this film enjoyable and funny.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.



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