The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Absurd Comedy, Parody/Spoof, Slapstick  |   Release Date - Jun 28, 1991 (USA)  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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The second in a trilogy of comedies based on a failed TV series, The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991) exemplified the absurd, slapstick, lowbrow humor of director David Zucker, his brother Jerry Zucker, and their partner Jim Abrahams, characterized by sight gags, non sequiturs, broad acting, celebrity cameos, wordplay, pratfalls, expletives, and bodily functions. The films in the "Naked Gun" trilogy began as a six-episode midseason replacement TV series called Police Squad! (1982), a knowing send-up of such 1970s TV detective dramas as Cannon and Barnaby Jones. As with the Zucker Abrahams Zucker team's box office blockbuster Airplane! (1980), which mocked the clich├ęs of the disaster epic, the newest creation spoofed the conventions of the crime drama, from its characters (a shoeshine boy who was an all-too-knowing informant) to its stylistic elements (the show-closing "freeze frame," which wasn't really frozen). When Police Squad! failed to become a hit, the Zucker Abrahams Zucker team successfully transformed the concept into a feature film, altering the emphasis from wicked satire to broad farce. As in the TV show and first film, star Leslie Nielsen, who had been a staple of tough-guy parts for decades, masterfully underplayed his lead role of Lt. Frank Drebin, a wooden, all-American version of Inspector Clouseau. Delivering every line without inflection and remaining unperturbed by even the most disturbing or humiliating event, Nielsen was given a second career in cartoon-like comedy roles because of his fame as Drebin. Less was required of the supporting parts, filled by such figures as Priscilla Presley, O.J. Simpson, and Robert Goulet, all lampooning their public images.