Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994) / Comedy-Action

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual innuendo, some violence and language
Running time: 83 min.

Cast: Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy, O.J. Simpson, Fred Ward, Kathleen Freeman, Anna Nicole Smith, Randall 'Tex' Cobb (cameo), Vanna White (cameo), 'Weird Al' Yankovic (cameo), , Mary Lou Retton (cameo), Pia Zadora (cameo), David Zucker (cameo), Robert K. Weiss (cameo), Peter Segal (cameo), Florence Henderson (cameo), Shannen Doherty (cameo), Olympia Dukakis (cameo), R. Lee Ermey (cameo), Morgan Fairchild (cameo), Elliott Gould (cameo), Mariel Hemingway (cameo), James Earl Jones (cameo), Raquel Welch (cameo)
Director: Peter Segal
Screenplay: Pat Proft, David Zucker, Robert LoCash

Review published August 14, 2007

If you've seen The Naked Gun and Naked Gun 2 1/2, you already know what to expect with Naked Gun 33 1/3: more of the same.  Not that you'd really want it any other way, as you know you're going to get more jokes per minute than nearly any other comedy out there, and one of the funnier deadpan comedic actors in Leslie Nielsen (Nuts, Soul Man).  At this point in the series, the material is wearing mighty thin, but there is enough ingenuity still left over to get the requisite laughs required to deem it worthwhile to screwball comedy fans.   

This installment sees Frank Drebin (Nielsen), now married to his sweetheart Jane (Presley, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane), living a life of boredom after retiring from the police squad.  He misses his old buddies and the thrill of the hunt, but he gets his chance to come out of retirement when his old boss (Kennedy, Mean Dog Blues) begs him to take one more case.  Tired of being tied down to the home, he willingly accepts, although he must conceal this fact from Jane, who doesn't want Frank doing any more of his old dangerous work.  The plot, if anyone cares, involves the thwarting of terrorist Rocco Dillon (Ward, Short Cuts), who ultimately plans on blowing up the Academy Awards ceremony. 

Although the film as a whole is forgettable stuff, which makes it perfect for repeat viewings in some ways, there are some memorable gags.  One of the longer scenes involves a spoof of the stairs scene in The Untouchables (itself an homage to Battleship Potemkin) that they had planned for the first film, but were not able to do due to budgetary constraints.  The gag involves not one, but multiple women that need assistance in bringing their babies in carriages up or down the steps, while the cops try valiantly to get them out of the way for the big shootout that's about to emerge.

Although some gags linger, most viewers will probably remember this film as the one involving  Anna Nicole Smith (To the Limit, Skyscraper) more so than any of the jokes, as her voluptuous presence does arrest the eye, even if her acting presence fails to make any impression whatsoever.  However, it's Nielsen who sells the jokes, and when he's in this niche, he's at his best, provided that the material is right, and it seems to suit him quite well here.

Naked Gun 33 1/3 is the final film in the Naked Gun trilogy, and we should give credit to the producers and writers for knowing to stop before the films made a mockery of themselves, in addition to making a mockery of other films.  Once it's over, you'll probably move on with life and never think back much on it, but while it's playing it holds your attention, and even when some gags fizzle, you never lose interest, as you know the next zinger is not long in coming, and it will pay off more than enough to make up for the bad ones.  There aren't many comedies you can say that about.

Qwipster's rating:

2007 Vince Leo