The Comedy Vault – The Naked Gun trilogy.

The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad! (1988)/The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell Of Fear (1991)/The Naked Gun 33: The Final Insult (1994)

Now you should think yourselves lucky because for just about the first time you are really going to get three film reviews in one. I have already reviewed the American sitcom Police Squad, which starred Leslie Nielsen as Frank Drebin, and told the story of how I actually first remember seeing this character in the early-90s adverts for Red Rock.

I really enjoyed the wordplay and general silliness. I then went on to discover the film Airplane!, and finally see Police Squad, and it was as terrific as I’d hoped it would be. Nielsen’s deadpan style while some rather strange things were happening around him really did cause a stir. But there were only six episodes, making this one of the shortest-running sitcoms on US TV.

It was clear that there was still plenty in the idea though, and eventually this was taken to the extreme with The Naked Gun trilogy. When there is trouble around, there is clearly only one person who can solve things. And nobody knows why. Whether it’s rather important people such as monarchs, he’ll do everything that he possibly can.

These films were so daft, that when there were the two sequels, they even messed around with the numbering. When I was younger, I was fairly convinced that there was both a 2 and a 2½, I’m not sure why, and it seems that I invented a film that didn’t exist. But the ones that actually do exist are rather good, and were praised by a variety of critics.

The Naked Gun even got on to the cover of Radio Times, how impressive. It really is so difficult for me to pick my favourite out of the three films. Even the credits are amusing. These are now considered to be in the top bracket of the comedy films from this era, put it this way, you won’t only ever see these on the TV at 2am, sponsored by Pimlico Plumbers.

There were many other zany comedy films around this time, most of them influenced by The Naked Gun, or made by the same directors, and Nielsen even appeared in a few himself, but these three will always be the best. They have all been released on DVD in a boxset, but they contain few extras (well the one that I have don’t). What’s that all about.