I just want to start this by saying, this is not a normal review. I find it hard to review comedies because comedy in itself is so subjective. What I may find gut-bustingly funny, you may simply roll your eyes at. So, I won’t try to tell you whether or not you’ll find it funny. I also don’t have any interesting commentary on the film. Instead, I’ll simply talk about the type of humor in the film, which I love.
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988) is a comedy that heavily satirizes police and crime films from the era. Having just watched it for the first time I understand why it was so popular. It very much feels like a spiritual successor to Airplane (1980), which is one of my all time favorite movies. The Naked Gun is full of slapstick comedy, visual puns, and clever word play. Three styles of comedy that I feel are deeply missed into day’s comedy. Where today’s comedies tend to make someone the butt of the joke, visual puns and clever wordplay don’t. They are just good fun humor. All the jokes are completely sold by Leslie Nielsen’s brilliant dead pan delivery. I would show them here but I fear that something would be lost by simply typing it out and the clips on YouTube don’t do the jokes justice. But just so you get an idea, at one point a character offers Nielsen a cigar and says “Cuban?” to which Nielsen’s character responds “No, Dutch-Irish. My father was from Wales.” That’s it. That’s the type of humor that gets me every time. But like I said, something is lost in simply typing it out. Nielsen’s delivery of the line is everything. I just want more humor like that is comedy. I don’t think its too much to ask.
I don’t have much else to say, but I just wish that visual gags and wordplay jokes were still popular in today’s comedy world, instead of the often mean-spirited stuff of today. So, I guess that this just a long way to say that The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! is on U.S. Netlfix, and so is Airplane for that matter, so I definitely suggest checking it out to see what I’m talking about and the type of humor that used to be so popular. Before I go, I will say that it is absolutely fascinating that of the two celebrity cameos in the film, the one that aged the best was parody musician Weird Al and the one that aged the least well was the sports mega-star O.J. Simpson.