The Naked Gun

The Naked Gun poster
The Naked Gun, Paramount Pictures 1988

Before watching the movie:

In a new blog, it is inevitable there will be firsts. And perhaps this is the first week I’m reviewing a movie you have already seen. It will probably not be the last either. It is my hope that you find my first-time reviews interesting as a look back, and maybe even remind you of the first time you watched it.

I’m a big fan of classic Leslie Nielsen comedy. Airplane! will always be a favorite of mine. After going through some of the Movie Movie series, I’m looking forward to enjoying him at his best again.

During and After watching the movie:
The film opens with a terrorism summit of world leaders, which Nielsen then proceeds to break up with such sheer audaciousness I first thought it had to be a daydream. Then I remembered the tone of the film and decided it had to just be that crazy. And it is. This was later spoofed by Family Guy with more than just a shot-for-shot remake. I didn’t recognize it at first.

Neilsen, as Lieutenant Frank Drebin, is investigating a drug ring led by Ricardo Montalban while preparing for a visit from the Queen of England. The visit from the Queen seems at first to serve as nothing more than a deadline for the investigation, but you can be fairly sure the climax will revolve around it. Drebin’s partner, hospitalized due to the investigation Drebin takes over, looked very familiar, but I needed the credits to recognize him as O.J. Simpson. (I’m not gonna make a joke about his acting outside a courtroom. Nope. Move along.)

Drebin gets involved with Montalban’s secretary, who seems to have completely innocent motives, but the way she throws herself into the relationship is so fast I’m not immediately sure if it’s sinister or just for comic effect.

The comedic style is familiar, but not predictable. I can’t tell when a moment is going to be exaggerated, subverted, offhand satire, or something completely random, but whenever a joke comes up, I recognize the good old Zucker/Abrams/Zucker style.

That brand of subversion does not extend to the end, and hopefully without going into too much detail, I can say that everything you would expect is there. A fairly enjoyable ending, possibly marred by how they wrap up Montalban’s character, in today’s light. It goes on for so long you still can’t help but laugh though.

See this movie: because it’s a classic! Also it’s intelligent.

Don’t see this movie: if you can’t stand Leslie Nielsen in a sex scene.

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