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

(On DVD, October 2017) Much of the fun in watching The Naked Gun is in seeing the Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker team (along with Pat Proft) take on the police thriller as worthy of spoofing. Using Leslie Nielsen as a gaffe-prone policeman with more zeal than polish is inspired, but then again most of The Naked Gun comes from the short-lived but still-hilarious Police Squad! TV show. The basic elements being familiar to the filmmakers, the film itself seems well-practised, something that also probably has to do with the previous ZAZ spoof movies. In any case, the solid plot acts as a clothesline on which to add various gags, joke sequences and parodies. The number of outright parodies is low (the shift would happen in later instalments of the series) but the laughs are high, mostly because the film is spoofing a genre and generating a lot of jokes along the way. Leslie Nielsen is solid, playing his ridiculous character Frank Drebin with absolute dryness. Ricardo Montalban is also a highlight in his own way, while Priscilla Presley, George Hamilton and (ironically now) O.J. Simpson round up the main cast. The third act does get a bit long especially if you have no great interest in baseball. Still, no matter how you see it, The Naked Gun remains a terrific spoof comedy, as essential today as other classics of the genre such as Airplane!, Top Secret! or Hot Shots!

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