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Case Number 15631

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The Naked Gun

Paramount // 1988 // 85 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // February 6th, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge Franck Tabouring is about ready to grab a bite to eat.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of The Naked Gun (published April 16th, 2001) and The Naked Gun (Blu-ray) (published September 28th, 2011) are also available.

The Charge

"The villain. Even Mother Teresa wanted him dead."

Opening Statement

Most big-screen parodies these days fall victim to disgusting humor and annoying predictability, but back in the '80s and early '90s, some slapstick comedies actually managed to both entertain and surprise audiences at the same time. It's hard to believe, but true. Airplane! creator David Zucker's The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! is a prime example of such a refreshing, hilarious film. If you don't own the DVD yet, now is the perfect time to add it to your collection.

Facts of the Case

Based on Zucker's amusing television series Police Squad!, the movie stars Leslie Nielsen as Frank Drebin, a clumsy cop who stumbles across and tries everything in his power to prevent a complex scheme to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the United States.

The Evidence

Beware, because this naked gun is loaded with plenty of entertainment! Although I wouldn't go as far and say that the film boasts a horde of massive laughs, I do admit it has everything it takes to make me put on a broad smile every time I watch it. If you've seen The Naked Gun before I certainly don't need to tell you how brainless and silly its story line and sense of humor are, but if you haven't yet had the chance to experience Drebin's goofy police adventures, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

What really distinguishes The Naked Gun from most other spoofs is the simple fact that the majority of its physical and oral gags work flawlessly. Not every joke in the script is a guaranteed success, but the film's vibrant humor and fast-paced plot keep the entertainment factor high throughout. Most importantly, the movie does not have to rely on disgusting material in its attempt to capture the audience's attention. You will of course come across a couple of fart jokes and toilet moments in The Naked Gun, but they're by far less offensive than the crap we get to see in most of today's slapstick fiascos.

First-class screenwriting is not the film's most important asset; the cast matters a lot as well. Leslie Nielsen is obviously just the right guy for this kind of role, and his performance as the maladroit lieutenant who literally destroys everything he touches is deliciously funny throughout. Truth be told, Nielsen's clueless look, his eccentric attitude, and his entire posture help him turn Drebin into just the kind of hilarious movie character you'll never forget. Supporting Nielsen are a charming Priscilla Presley as Frank's love interest, the great George Kennedy as his captain, and, of course, O.J. Simpson as his colleague Nordberg.

Although I'm not sure whether Paramount has done anything to it since the previous DVD release of the movie, this edition boasts a stellar 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation with a strong, sharp picture. The audio transfer works just as well, and the movie's hilarious dialogue sounds just as clear as its interesting soundtrack and other sound effects.

As far as the special features are concerned, this edition of The Naked Gun offers nothing new. Besides a theatrical trailer, all you'll find in the bonus section is a feature commentary with David Zucker, Robert Weiss, and Peter Tilden. Luckily, this one's a clear winner, with all three participants offering plenty of interesting and funny information about how this film came together. Listening to them is quite easy because they are very laid back and don't shy away from making fun of their own work. I mean, they even make fun of O.J.

This being one of Paramount's new "I Love the 80's" editions, the disc also includes a CD with three songs from, well, the '80s. It certainly won't give you any extra insight into the making of the movie, but it's certainly a nice treat for those still addicted to tunes like "Lips Like Sugar" or "Need You Tonight."

Closing Statement

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! qualifies as a must-see parody that takes immense pleasure in poking fun at cop flicks. Zucker and his team of writers, movie techs, and actors deliver a heck of a funny show.

The Verdict

Not guilty!

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Scales of Justice

Video: 91
Audio: 92
Extras: 78
Acting: 90
Story: 89
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (French)
• English
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
• Comedy

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Trailer
• Music CD


• IMDb

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