The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991)

2013 #76
David Zucker | 82 mins | TV | 1.85:1 | USA / English | 15* / PG-13

The Naked Gun 2Frank Drebin and the crew at Police Squad are back for the usual mix of silly one-liners and farcical slapstick. Fortunately, they’re as entertaining as ever.

If you’ve seen a Zucker-Abrams-Zucker film you’ll know what you’re in for (and if you haven’t, is a sequel really the best place to start?), but the pleasing aspect is that this is as good as any. Well, not as good as any, but it’s a fine example of their style. Which means that, the afore-outlined daftness aside, some topical jokes have already been lost to time and/or culture (I say “already” — it is 22 years old (oh lordy!)). On that note, I’ll mention that there’s once again a longer TV version which wasn’t shown when I watched it on TV.

The plot is, of course, fairly incidental; but, in a moment of accidental depressingness, it could just as easily be set today as almost two decades ago: an environmental expert is set to make a speech to the US President that will influence policy, so of course the energy companies want said speaker silenced. The only bit that doesn’t fly today is that the President might actually listen to an evidence-backed scientist over energy lobbyists. 22 years on and that field is still as bad as it ever was Stateside, if not worse… Bit of a bleak topic for a comedy, but I suppose it wasn’t all as crushingly serious back then. I imagine that side of the film will only get less funny as the years roll on.

Probably better than the third, probably not quite as good as the first, The Naked Gun 2½ probably splits the difference for 3½ stars. But I don’t do things by halves, kiddo.

3 out of 5

* Classified a 12 for cinemas, but consistently (1991, 1992, 2001) a 15 on video. That’s a bit over the top; I really can’t see why it wasn’t lowered in 2001 at least. ^

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