Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Classic Review: The Naked Gun (1988)

Welcome to a new section of the site called Classic Reviews, where...I basically just review classic movies. This needs distinction because these are not unfamiliar movies to the general public, and I'm really just engaging in some discussion of why said movie is so great. Is it maybe just like the regular reviews? Well...shut up; this is The Naked Gun.

Director: David Zucker
Starring: Leslie Nielson, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy

Frank: It's the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girls dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day. 
Jane: Goodyear? 
Frank: No, the worst. 

This is comedic gold. Leslie Nielson really sells himself here as Lt. Frank Drebin, the hilariously inept cop out to stop an assassination attempt on the queen. Really this is just one of those old school comedies that gets everything right. It isn’t afraid to be as wacky and over the top as possible, and I think that’s really the key with a great comedy flick. You don’t have to work with the laws of reality, and you can have a story going on while doing whatever you want. You have to keep the jokes coming like bullets from an automated machine gun, and a mix of visual and verbal comedy makes it even better.

Mayor: Drebin, I don't want anymore trouble like you had last year on the South Side. Understand? That's my policy. 
Frank: Yes. Well, when I see 5 weirdos dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of the park in full view of 100 people, I shoot the bastards. That's *my* policy. 
Mayor: That was a Shakespeare-In-The-Park production of "Julius Caesar", you moron! You killed 5 actors! Good ones. 

The Naked Gun is just supreme. It’s like the whole world is looked at through a funhouse mirror. The plot is pretty simple – Drebin, while trying to liberate the name of his friend Nordberg (OJ Simpson), stumbles into a plot to kill the Queen of England. And hilarity ensues along the way in spades.

Frank: It's true what they say: Cops and women don't mix. It's like eating a spoonful of Drano; sure, it'll clean you out, but it'll leave you hollow inside. 

The comedy in the dialogue is loud, proud and crude, but the visual humor is there too, and although it’s certainly not subtle or anything, paying attention throughout the whole thing yields a LOT more humor than is initially apparent. The Naked Gun is just a really brilliant comedy with a ton of really hilarious moments and that good old na├»ve, light-hearted, good natured comedy. Everything feels so zany and larger than life, with each joke put in exactly the right place and given the right emphasis – this is not a sloppy movie at all. But even through the intelligent structuring and well-made nature of the movie, it’s still impossible not to have fun when watching, as every inch of it is taken up with the desire to make you laugh. And how can you really resist? I’d name highlights but really, there’s no point in this movie that I wasn’t having fun with. A masterwork of comedy and a true classic.

Frank: Just think; next time I shoot someone, I could be arrested.

Quotes from IMDb. And from the movie.