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Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994)

The Naked Gun III

Mostly all new jokes

Directed by:

Peter Segal

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 83 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

It’s pleasing to see this, the third and final part of the at-times hilarious ‘Naked Gun’ series, taking the trilogy out on a high note. These films can’t be easy to make (they’re certainly not easy to review!), but David Zucker, the mastermind behind the lot of them, has somehow managed to turn some of the downright daftest material ever written into one of cinema’s most fondly-remembered collection of movies. This last instalment is as silly as either of its predecessors – and that’s exactly the way it should be.

This time, Zucker continues to pull the strings behind the scenes as writer and producer (and brief cameo appearance maker), but the directorial reigns are handed to Peter Segal (who more recently helmed the surprisingly decent ’50 First Dates’). It marks a slight change in comedic approach, with spoofy send-ups of a dozen other movies creeping into the story, occasionally at the expense of the quick-fire gags we came to know and love from the first two flicks. But it also means there’s a renewed freshness to the franchise, and star player Leslie Nielsen – as always – thrives under the circumstances.

Nielsen slips back into the shoes of Lieutenant Frank Drebin, who’s now having more than a little difficulty settling into retired life. He’s having nightmares about the crims at large in his absence, is struggling to keep the missus (Pricilla Presley) happy, and, most worryingly of all, can’t stop baking. So when old comrades Ed and Nordberg (George Kennedy and O.J. Simpson) drop by to seek his help in tracking down a terrorist (Fred Ward) who’s planning on hitting the Academy Awards, he doesn’t need to be asked twice.

It’s all great fun, and in this writer’s opinion an improvement on the first slightly-disappointing sequel. It’s got some gleeful prison scenes, a cameo-packed awards ceremony, all the old cast favourites back on board, and it’s all nicely dated by a ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ reference and a pre-bloated Anna Nicole Smith. Great stuff – and if only the Oscars were REALLY as much fun as they’re shown to be here, it’d almost be worth sitting up until four in the morning to watch them. Almost.

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It's Got: Huey Lewis on the soundtrack – nice work. And yes, kids – it IS hip to be square. Don’t forget it.

It Needs: To be chortled heartily at.

DVD Extras Disc 3 in ‘The Complete Naked Gun Collection’ box-set has the same stuff as the other two – a trailer,a nd a group commentary from David Zucker, Peter Segal, producer Robert Weiss and associate producer Michael Ewing. DVD Extras Rating: 3/10

Alternatives:

Airplane!, The Naked Gun, The Naked Gun 2½ : The Smell of Fear, Top Secret!

Summary

Frank Drebin bows out in style – and remember, “this is not goodbye. It’s just I won’t ever see you again.”

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