Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
Directed by Peter Segal. Starring Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy, O.j. Simpson, Fred Ward, Pia Zadora, Olympia Dukakis. (1994, PG-13, 82 min.)
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., March 25, 1994
Speaking of film series that have outlived their usefulness… Detective Frank Drebin (Nielsen) is back in this third installment (or ninth, if you factor in the ill-fated Police Squad TV shows that the films are based on) of the popular David Zucker/Pat Proft parody series. Let's just say if you liked the last one, you'll like this one, too. Otherwise, you'll discover that it's time for Drebin, Nordberg, Capt. Hocken, and the rest to finally retire their badges. This time out, Drebin is called back from a brief retirement in order to foil Rocco (Ward), a terrorist mastermind intent on detonating a nuclear device at the 66th annual Academy Awards (not such a bad thing, if you caught the awards Monday night). Drebin's been cooped up at home with new wife Jane, playing house-husband and baking cupcakes, but the lure of the gun proves too strong, and before you can say overkill, he's back on the job and reunited with his old Police Squad cronies. The Final Insult is by far the weakest in the series, feeling like a rush job cobbled together with leftover gags from the first two films. It opens with a hilarious dream sequence in which Drebin is surrounded by crime and rendered helpless as his gun runs out of rounds (a nifty take on Eisenstein's Odessa Steps sequence runs back-to-back with a similar bit from DePalma's Untouchables -- sometimes the jokes within jokes get a bit out of hand here), but Zucker and company drop the ball for most of the rest of the film, relying instead on the type of sophomoric humor better suited to recent Charlie Sheen vehicles. No one ever accused the Naked Gun series of being too highbrow for its own good, but this time out, they've apparently hit bottom.