Review: ‘Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear’

The Naked Gun 2 1/2 is at least two-and-a-half times less funny than its hilarious 1988 progenitor. But even if the laugh machine isn't operating at top efficiency, it still cranks out a few choice bits of irreverent lunacy.

The Naked Gun 2 1/2 is at least two-and-a-half times less funny than its hilarious 1988 progenitor. But even if the laugh machine isn’t operating at top efficiency, it still cranks out a few choice bits of irreverent lunacy.

Clothesline plot, designed to make the most of director David Zucker’s environmental concerns, has bad guy Robert Goulet kidnaping the president’s wheelchair-bound energy czar and replacing him with a lookalike who will endorse continued heavy reliance on oil, coal and nuclear power.

Case sees Lt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) catching up with his erstwhile inamorata (Priscilla Presley) who, we learn, dumped him two years earlier. After an amusing rendezvous in a truly blue jazz boite, pair communes soulfully over a potter’s wheel in a send-up of Ghost, and Drebin doesn’t seem threatened by a newspaper headline that announces, ‘Elvis Spotted Buying Condo in Aspen.’

Nielsen seems just a tad more self-aware than he was in the original. Whereas O.J. Simpson, who reappears here as the hapless Nordberg, took the brunt of physical abuse in the first Naked Gun, that honor in the sequel falls to Margery Ross, whose Barbara Bush hardly goes a minute without taking a nasty fall or hit.

Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear

Production

Paramount. Director David Zucker; Producer Robert K. Weiss; Screenplay David Zucker, Pat Proft; Camera Robert Stevens; Editor James Symons, Chris Greenbury; Music Ira Newborn; Art Director John J. Lloyd

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1991. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Leslie Nielsen Priscilla Presley George Kennedy O.J. Simpson Robert Goulet Richard Griffiths

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