Based on a short lived ABC television program, Police Squad!, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad started a successful spoof franchise starring the always wonderfully deadpan Leslie Nielsen as the bumbling yet somehow super effective police officer Frank Drebin.
The Naked Gun is unapologetic for its comedy and it is not afraid if a joke does not hit because if you, as an audience member do not like one joke, wait ten seconds and there will be five more. The rapid fire humor covers all realms of type during the 90+ minutes and Leslie Nielsen is the perfect foil for it.
Frank catches wind of a potential plot to assassinate the visiting Queen of England by local businessman Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban). Why did Ludwig want to assassinate the Queen? Well, it is never quite revealed, but those pesky plot details are just in the way.
Ludwig’s assistant Jane (Priscilla Presley) is sent to get close to Frank, but she falls in love with the cop, causing even more trouble for him. Frank’s quest to stop Ludwig seems to border on obsessive so he is removed from Police Squad, but that does not stop him from heading to an Angels baseball game where the assassination is scheduled to take place by one of the players.
The baseball scenes in The Naked Gun are some of the best comedy of the entire movie. Frank finds himself as the singer of the national anthem before he works himself into the role of the home plate umpire. These baseball scenes are a total hoot.
The film features great cameos from Reggie Jackson and EYG Hall of Famer “Weird Al” Yankovic. There is as well a long list of baseball announcers appearing including but not limited to Jim Palmer, Dick Vitale and Dr. Joyce Brothers.
There is also a strange cathartic release seeing all of the harm done to OJ Simpson’s character, Norberg, as Frank’s partner and best friend is constantly placed in situations that cause him harm or pain. Just something right about that.
The Naked Gun is certainly a ridiculous film, but as a spoof movie, it is one of the true classics. You cannot go to a Naked Gun movie for the intricate plot. It is meant to make you laugh, and Naked Gun does that throughout the movie.