Nielsen Ratings: Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult

“Naked Gun 33⅓” isn’t quite the insult to the previous movies it claims to be but it’s hard to ignore that it feels flatter than either of its two predecessors. Nielsen still makes it work, of course, and it’s more conspicuously star-studded than either of the previous movies (this was Raquel Welch’s first movie role in 17 years) but the cameos are window dressing to hide how tired the format has become.

Retirement from Police Squad isn’t working out as well as Frank Drebin had hoped so when the chance comes to help out his old colleagues, Frank sees a chance to escape from his troubles with Jane. Discovering his deception, Jane leaves him and Drebin embarks on an undercover operation to foil a terrorist bomb plot.

There are still some great stand-out moments in this third sequel but we’re at the point where the hit/ miss ratio is almost even. It’s also much more scattergun in its parody targets. Alongside the generic police procedural, prison movies get a ribbing, a key sequence of “The Untouchables” is homaged and Priscilla Presley gets more to do this time around with her own “Thelma & Louise” pastiche (featuring a brief appearance from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” stalwart Marc Alaimo).

Again it plunders the old “Naked Gun” TV show for any remaining jokes “The Smell Of Fear” left behind but it often lets gags go on a little too long and never quite feels like it’s a cohesive movie rather than a collection of interconnected sketches. “Naked Gun 33⅓” improves as it goes but the first half-hour or so drags a little.

The grand finale, spoofing the Oscar ceremony, feels a little bit outside Police Squad’s usual beat but it’s so packed full of jokes that you won’t really mind. Fred Ward is good value as the bad guy and there’s a nice nod to the very first film with a repeat appearance from Papshmir (Ray Burke) tying everything together.

It’s still pretty good but it doesn’t have the spark of inspiration that distinguished the first movie and still flickered brightly enough in the second one. An adequate “Naked Gun” movie is still better than most other parody movies but it leans so heavily on its star’s comic timing and charisma you have to wonder who – if anyone – could possibly take on the role of Frank Drebin and step into Nielsen’s shoes in Paramount’s rumoured reboot?

Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult Review
Leslie Nielsen Rating 06
Nielsen Ratings

Nielsen Ratings

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