Paramount figures to blast away the competition with its third spin of “The Naked Gun,” loaded with the usual barrage of irreverent, politically incorrect and virtually non-stop gags. Even in light of disappointing results for some recent sequels, the new “Gun” should score a bull’s eye with the teen and college crowd, rivaling its predecessors’ hefty box office take.
The formula for these movies is easy to decipher but difficult to execute. Working from the presumption that if stupid is good, idiotic is better, the filmmakers cram in more jokes per minute than would seem possible, hit the target with enough of them to keep the audience going, and then get out quickly (in this case, a brisk 82 minutes), before the novelty wears off.
The other main element involves a heavy reliance on movie parodies, and this latest platter offers some killers, perhaps the most inspired being its “The Untouchables” spoof that precedes the credits.
Those keeping track, however, will also see references, seldom subtle, to such diverse sources as “Thelma & Louise,””White Heat” and “The Crying Game.”
Tracing the plot of one of these romps is virtually pointless, and the latest is thinner in that department than the others. Police squad detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) has retired and taken to the domestic life, while his wife — and a courtroom full of breast-feeding mothers — prosecutes child-support cheats.
Frank gets talked into returning to the force, going under cover to bunk up with a terrorist (Fred Ward) and the terrorist’s mob, including his snarling mother (Kathleen Freeman) and bombshell girlfriend (supermodel Anna Nicole Smith).
Director Peter Segal and writers Pat Proft, David Zucker and Robert LoCash succumb to occasional bouts of toilet humor, but there’s also extended hilarity in a scene set around the Academy Awards.
By now Nielsen, Priscilla Presley and the other regs can virtually mail in their performances, which give shameless mugging a good name. Ward’s an effective bad guy, while Smith’s wonder-of-modern-engineering outfits almost prompt one to ignore that, based on this perf, she should probably stick to modeling.
Tech credits evince the attention to detail needed to maintain this sort of farce, while closing credits include the usual scroll of ongoing lunacy.
Considering this series is based on a TV show canceled 12 years ago — after just six episodes –“33 1/3” may not be “the final insult,” as it indicates, but for the producers, it certainly qualifies as the last laugh.