Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult


Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

Having retired from Police Squad, Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) is having difficulty adjusting to domestic life and the prospect of starting a family. When a vicious terrorist (Fred Ward) is linked to a previous suspect (Nicole Smith), Ed (George Kennedy) and Nordberg (OJ Simpson) recruit Frank to come back and go undercover…

While The Naked Gun movies and preceding show Police Squad never had much in the way of depth or storytelling, they knew how to get their funny on. Existing as a mere clothesline upon which to hang quick-fire gags, police-show satire and background humour, they succeeded thanks to three crucial factors; Leslie Nielsen’s performance as Frank Drebin, the biggest amount of visual jokes you’ll ever see and the amount they made you laugh (before laughing at yourself for actually laughing in the first place).

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Though not quite as funny as previous efforts, The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult still goes three for three as far as these elements are concerned. In the main role, Leslie Nielsen is fantastic as ever and reminds us that he is the very essence of these movies. Even when the previous pictures misfired, his facial expressions and ability to effectively misunderstand just about everything said to him were guaranteed to have you chuckling or sniggering. Here he plays the role with as much zest as ever and comes out with some of the best series quotes so far. It takes a certain kind of actor to deliver material such as: “like a midget at a urinal, I was going to have to stay on my toes.”

As mentioned earlier, the series is also known for its site gags and, thankfully, The Naked Gun 33 1/3 carries on that tradition. From the headline on Frank’s paper at the start to the visitors section at prison, from the prison yard to Oscars night, there’s so much going on that it’s impossible to catch it all first time round. In terms of the always-good-value credit sequence (how can you not love that music?) this time we get the Star Wars death-star trench and the Jurassic Park T-Rex paddock. Genius.

As for the laughs, they keep coming to the point it is tough to keep track of why you are in hysterics. While there are a few more ‘average’ jokes than usual and the hit-ratio isn’t what it once was, the supermarket, sperm bank and disco shootout should have enough to keep anyone's knee sufficiently slapped.

In their roles as Ed and Nordberg, Kennedy and Simpson are effective as always. Ward makes for a suitably grubby baddie, Kathleen Freeman snarls with the best of them as the mother villain of the piece and as for Anna Nicole Smith, well let’s just say she makes two sizeable contributions.

Maybe not the franchise’s finest hour but there’s still plenty of Frank Drebin magic to be had (“Mr De Niro, we need to get inside”). All in all, The Naked Gun 33 1/3 makes for a more than fitting final insult

Reviewed on: 26 Mar 2009
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Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult packshot
Frank Drebin returns, this time attempting to foil a bomb plot at the Oscars.
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Director: Peter Segal

Writer: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Pat Proft, David Zucker, Robert LoCash

Starring: Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy, OJ Simpson, Fred Ward, Kathleen Freeman, Anna Nicole Smith, Ellen Greene, Ed Williams, Raye Birk

Year: 1994

Runtime: 83 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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