Sunday, 5 December 2010


Director: David Zucker
Running time: 81 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

UK release date: 10th February 1989

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 5th December 2010.


If actor Leslie Nielsen hadn’t sadly died on November 28th this year (2010), I maybe wouldn’t have watched this. I have seen it many times before but this is the first time I’ve attempted a review. The trouble with reviewing the work of someone that has recently passed is that you feel you don’t want to say anything bad about them. I will, however, try to keep my impartiality. Here’s a short summary of the plot before I get into it (summary haters please keep an eye on that crazy baseball umpire while I write the next paragraph).

Undercover policeman, Nordberg, has been shot and it’s up to inept cop Frank Drebin to find who’s responsible. Add to that the fact that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is visiting the city and Drebin has his plate full. The finger of suspicion falls on respected businessman Vincent Ludwig and Frank decides to pay him a visit. There he meets Jane Spencer who has been persuaded by Ludwig to get close to Drebin so he can discover what the police know. During his investigation Drebin discovers a plot to assassinate the Queen during her visit. Can Frank find out who shot Nordberg and also stop the assassination attempt on the Queen and maybe even get the girl? So many questions, so little time.

A pretty well made film with a very high gag (in the comedy sense) ratio. For me there were surprisingly few ‘laugh out loud’ moments though. I put it down to the difference in culture between the USA and the UK. We may speak more or less the same language, but what makes us laugh is very different. That isn’t to say there were any bad performances, far from it, Leslie Nielsen was excellent as Frank Drebin, Priscilla Presley put in a stellar performance as Jane Spencer and Ricardo Montalban was excellent as Vincent Ludwig. Honourable mentions must also go to George Kennedy as Ed Hocken, O.J. Simpson as Nordberg and Nancy Marchand as the Mayor.

I used to love the TV show but I’m afraid it doesn’t translate too well to the big screen. It’s still pretty good, but I don’t think the humour comes across as well when you are bombarded with it for 80 minutes solid. So, over all, not as good as the TV show, but still recommended if only for Leslie Nielson’s performance, he will be missed.

My score: 7.6/10

IMDb Page:

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