Nielsen Ratings: The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991) Review
When “The Naked Gun” hit big, a sequel was all but inevitable and three years later, Leslie Nielsen picked up Frank Drebin’s badge and gun once again for “The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell Of Fear”. With Jerry Zucker off directing “Ghost”, David Zuker took sole directing duties, writing the script with Pat Proft, both of them raiding the short-lived “Naked Gun” TV series for gags galore.
“The Smell Of Fear” sees the redoubtable Lt Frank Drebin, fresh from being honoured for his 1,000th drug dealer kill become embroiled in a plot by a megalomaniacal industrialist to subvert the US Energy policy of President George Bush (played by John Roarke looking more like old-age-makeup George McFly from “Back To The Future” than the 41st President Of The United States) by replacing the esteemed Doctor Meinheimer (Richard Griffiths) with a doppelganger and ensure a continued dependence on the existing energy cartels. Adding to Drebin’s troubles is the fact that Dr Meinheimer’s assistant is none other than his old flame Jane (Priscilla Presley).
In addition to Presley’s return, the rest of the gang are back too. George Kennedy takes time out from playing the villainous Carter McKay in “Dallas” to reprise Drebin’s long-suffering sidekick Ed, not-yet-murderer O J Simpson returns as Nordberg along with the undervalued Ed Williams as Police Squad’s Head Lab Technician Ted. Nielsen, of course, steals the show and whether he’s delivering brand new material or recreating jokes from the TV show or callbacks to the first film, he makes the comedy sing and helps his castmates to raise their comic game.
Like its predecessor, it expertly skewers the hard-boiled police procedural, finding the genre’s weak spots and deftly sliding in a comedic stiletto with gleeful ruthlessness. The jokes come thick and fast and although the hit to miss ratio is a bit higher this time, there’s no denying that when it gets it right, it’s every bit as funny as its predecessor, just not quite as consistently. The guest stars are good fun to, with Robert Goulet clearly enjoying himself as Drebin’s antagonist and rival for the love of Jane.
A good sequel to a great movie and still streets ahead of the other parody movies which continued to follow on its coattails.
Nielsen Rating 7/10