A film Spin-Off of Police Squad!, following Police Lt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) as he continues to get into trouble. The films serve as parodies of the cop genre and (initially) film noire, and let nothing, including the blatant warping of reality and breaks in the fourth wall, get in the way of a good gag. The genius of the Drebin character is that Nielsen plays him almost totally straight: he's a buffoon, but he acts like a completely serious film detective even as lunacy explodes all around him, almost as if he's wandered in from a different movie.Features slapstick, Visual Puns and Shout Outs by the bucketful. At three movies, this actually lasted longer than the TV series it was based on. In all three Frank's love interest is Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley).The films are:
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988) -While trying to clear the name of Officer Nordberg, Drebin uncovers a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II
Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991) - Drebin meets the new man in Jane's life, who is involved in a kidnapping scheme.
Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994) - Drebin comes out of retirement and infiltrates a gang in prison. He must also save his faltering marriage.
The Naked Gun series provides examples of:
Accidental Hero: Frank has a habit of pulling this, especially in the second film: He responds to his award for "One Thousandth Drug Dealer Killed" by remarking that he accidentally ran over the last two with his car. In a later scene, he unknowingly saves his colleagues from a crazed gunman.
In the third movie, Drebin is at the store squeezing grapefruits to test for ripeness while looking the other way. A woman in a low cut dress walks by, and Drebin mistakes her breast for a grapefruit and squeezes it. He gets slapped. (For added hilarity, it's the same actress in both scenes.)
Acoustic License: An aversion is played for laughs when a hitman tries to deliver a "message" to Drebin from the Big Bad by cursing and opening fire on him. Drebin's response:
Aluminum Christmas Trees: In the third movie, the inmates at the state prison (where Frank has gone undercover) riot in the cafeteria simply because they don't like the food they're being served. As depicted in the film the gag is quite funny, but in fact something like that did once happen at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco (it was known as "The Spaghetti Riot"). In the movie, this culminates in a Funny Moment / Moment Of Awesome when the prisoners make the guards eat the awful food!
Although in this case, Frank's reasoning when yelling to the guards was that it didn't resemble crappy stereotypical prison food enough.
Precisely. Chateau LeBlanc '68 is supposed to be served slightly chilled, not room temperature!
Aside Glance: The standard reaction from characters when another character they are in conversation with says something nonsensical. Which, in this movie series, means almost every conversation, and often switches between who is talking nonsense and who is giving the Aside Glance.
Baby Carriage: The first scene of the third movie, which includes Nordberg (O.J. Simpson) almost spiking the baby after catching it.
Bait and Switch: Lampshaded in Naked Gun 2½; Frank asks the bartender to give him the strongest thing he's got, to which a muscle-heavy man walks up. Frank says, "On second thought, how about a Black Russian." The bartender looks at the camera and shakes his head, indicating that he's not going to perform the obvious punchline.
Dr. Meinheimer and Barbara Bush in The Smell of Fear.
Enrico Pallazzo in the first film. He's Bound and Gagged and impersonated by Frank, and then the TV captions display his name during Drevin's horrible interpretation of the national anthem, adding insult to injury.
Spoofed by type and position. For type, there's a stick figure and an Egyptian, and for position, there's Chalk Outlines that appear on a building's walls, or roof, or one that appears floating on the water.
In The Naked Gun, when Drebin meets a Mook standing at a distance:
Mook: Drebin! Frank: Yeah, I'm Drebin! Mook: I have a message for ya from Vincent Ludwig! [firing gun] Take that, you lousy cop! Frank: I'm sorry, I can't hear you! Don't fire the gun while you're talking!
Also, in 2½:
[Frank reads a business card] Frank: That's the red-light district. I wonder why Savage is hanging around down there. Ed: Sex, Frank? Frank: (beat) Uh... no, not right now, Ed.
Comic-Book Time: There's a bit of it early on in the third movie when the characters remember having seen Tanya Peters in a dance club sometime during the disco era of the late '70s (lets say, 1978). Since Leslie Nielsen and George Kennedy were already middle-aged in '78, seeing them looking more or less the same (except for the '70s Hair, of course) in the disco setting isn't too much of a stretch. But when we see Tanya herself, she's blatantly the same age as in the present day (about her mid-20s); if she had aged along with everyone else, she'd be at least 40 years old throughout most of the movie, which she is not. (Interestingly, Tanya's portrayer, Anna Nicole Smith, was not even a teenager when the disco era ended.)
The car Frank and Jane drive in the flashback to their wedding in 33 1/3 is the same solar-powered car that Hapsburg shows to his co-conspirators in the previous film. This scene was meant to be the previous film's ending, hence Nordberg getting dragged with it.
The flashback also features Frank's previous love mentioned in the beginning of the first film.
A deleted scene from the third film (which aired in the TV broadcast) showed Frank walking past a cell in the state prison containing a lion. This could be the same lion that mauled Hapsburg to death at the end of the second film; given the "logic" of this series, it's conceivable that the lion would've been charged with homicide.
Cosmopolitan Council: In the beginning of the first movie. It includes Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, Ugandan President Idi Amin, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, Col. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, among others.
As of October 2011, all of these people are either dead or no longer in power. That's right, it took 23 years for the opening sequence of The Naked Gun to be completely outdated.
Crazy-Prepared: When Frank and Jane meet in the first movie, they use condoms during their first bedroom encounter to guarantee "safe sex." Not too strange in itself, until you see that the condoms cover their entire bodies.
In the second movie, Nordberg begins to add accessories to his handgun during a shootout; the next scene shows him pulling parts out of nowhere as he puts together a gun mount; by the time Drebin calls out to him for cover, he has already put together a full-fledged cannon and proceeds to shoot down a massive chunk of wall, disabling basically every one of Hapsburg's cronies.
Creator Cameo: David Zucker (director of the first two films) appears as Davy Crockett and later as the teleprompter operator in 2½ and 33⅓, respectively.
Credits Gag: Happens in all three films. They include people getting credited by their single spoken line, people getting credited for made-up roles like "Second Second Assistant Director," "NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED DURING THE FILMING... HOWEVER, SOME SPECIES DID BECOME EXTINCT DURING PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY", and the safety warning, "In Case of Tornado: SOUTHWEST CORNER OF BASEMENT."
Crowd Panic: Happens at the end of 2½, when everyone learns about the bomb.
Crush Parade: At the end of the first film, Vincent Ludwig falls off the upper deck of a baseball stadium to the parking lot below where he gets hit by a bus, flattened by a steam-roller, and then trampled by a marching band playing "Louie Louie."
Ed: Oh, Frank! It's horrible. It's so horrible! Frank:(comforting Ed) I know... Ed: My father went the same way...
Jane: Frank! What's this?! Frank: I... fell. On a rake. Jane: You're lying! Now I know why Ed's been calling every half hour; you've been back on the case, haven't you? Frank: No, I swear, it's another woman! Jane: In your wildest dreams!
Dirt Force Field: Parodied. In the second film, Frank falls through a roof window of the building where the villains are. He gets up, all dusty and dirty, and begins to wipe his hair. In the next cut, Frank is completely clean.
Disaster Dominoes: Both Nordberg in the beginning of the first movie and later Drebin.
Whenever Drebin gets behind the wheel, something bad happens. The scene when Drebin tags along in a driving school car is especially notable, when the driving instructor instructs the student how to flip the bird.
Drebin gets into a tank; When Cpt Hocken tells him that Frank doesn't know how to drive it, he means it.
The opening credits are also built on this. A cop car (presumably containing Drebin) viewed from the emergency lights shows absolutely insane or just plain nonsensical driving behavior, including driving on sidewalks, into people's homes, on rollercoasters, into bullfighting arenas, restaurants, hockey rinks, the air, the surface of the Death Star, and prehistoric times.
(to Jane) "After I met you I noticed things I never saw before. Birds singing, dew glistening off a leaf, stop lights."
Jane driving the humongous semi in 33 ⅓; When she stops at Rocco's place, she has a road worker stuck at the grill.
Also, in a Thelma & Louise nod, Jane and her lady friend practically pack their whole house on the trunk of their convertible, constantly spilling appliances down the road.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Creatively named locations such as "The Hospital" and "The Police Station" are prominently signed as such. Word Of God is that the hospital was supposed to be called "Our Lady Who Never Got The Pickle" but Ricardo Montalban, a devout Catholic, requested the change. The hospital is name dropped as "Our Lady of the Worthless Miracle."
Face Palm: Happens in Naked Gun 33 ⅓ when Frank attempts to get the gun from Rocko while holding on the bomb in the envelope only for them to switch places causing everyone including the audience to facepalm.
Frank: Which button do I press? Jane: No, not that one!
Funny Background Event: The king of this form of humor. For example, in Naked Gun 2½, there's a series of framed pictures in the background of the bar Frank's in, all of which are various disasters (the Hindenburg, the sinking of the Titanic, and....Michael Dukakis).
Everything that happens concerning the aftermath of Drebin hitting something with his car.
Fun with Acronyms: In the second film, the three major energy lobbies (coal, oil, and nuclear) are given incredibly ironic acronyms: Society For More Coal Energy (S.M.O.C.E.), Society of Petroleum Industry Leader (S.P.I.L.), Key Atomic Benefits Office Of Mankind (K.A.B.O.O.M.).
Going Postal: Parodied in the third movie. While Frank is dealing with a number of threats (itself a parody of The Untouchables), a woman screams "disgruntled postal workers!" and he sees a number of mailmen firing assault rifles.note "Disgruntled" was the media's preferred euphemism for going postal at the time.
Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Drebin has apparently killed at least a thousand drug dealers, any number of fleeing suspects, and an entire Shakespeare In The Park production of Julius Caesar. Throw in his reckless incompetence and inability to drive or park, and he's probably as big a menace as any of the villains.
Hidden Depths - The Queen of England from part 1 throws a mean curve ball.
Hidden Wire: In the second film, Frank infiltrates Hapsburg's hideout while wearing one of these. As expected, Frank's not very subtle about saying the codeword into the vest mic to signal the rest of the team to infiltrate the lair.
Mook: What's that smell?! Frank: Oh, that would be me. I've been swimming in raw sewage. I love it. (Beat) I love it. (later...) I LOVE IT!!!
Also poor Dr. Meinheimer in "Naked Gun 2½." When he and Drebin are tied up in a warehouse, Drebin tries to saw through the ropes binding his hands behind his back by repeatedly scraping them up and down the sharp corner of a shelf. However, the vibrations send all sort of loose objects falling off the shelf and onto Dr. Meinheimer's head. By the end, he's barely conscious when the police come to his rescue.
Improbable Weapon: When the hit man who came to kill Jane fights with Frank in ''2 1/2", they use a whole series of these, including a hair dryer and a towel thrown in Frank's face (a Call Back to the Vorpal Pillow?), and culminating with a firehose that Drebin accidentally breaks while it's shoved in the hit man's mouth, leading to an off-screen Your Body Asplode. Crosses the Line Twice!
Not mentioning that before the fight, the mook fits a revolver... with a silencer (not entirely impossible, but tremendously impractical).
Also, Nordberg's accessorized gun-to-cannon upgrade in the second film. This and the previous example also serve as Improbable Use of a Weapon
Insane Troll Logic: Drebin and Rocko's argument over who should have the gun and who should have the bomb in part 3. The audience actually does a collective Face Fault.
Intimate Marks: In film #2, a famous scientist is identified by a birthmark on his buttcheek. When a criminal disguises himself as the scientist, the main character yanks down the man's pants to expose him... only he grabbed the scientist and not the criminal.
Tanya Peters never gets punished (at least not onscreen) for being affiliated with Rocko Dillon's terrorist gang, which is particularly odd since in the end she is the last surviving member of the gang. Sure, we know that she switched sides to the good guys by telling Frank where the bomb had been hidden, but that shouldn't absolve her from punishment for having knowingly collaborated with killers.
Tanya: Hey, look at this. She's married. What if her husband comes looking for her? Frank: He probably will. He must be a great guy. Jane: He breaks promises. Frank: Well, look at you traipsing all over the countryside just to spite a big, wonderful guy. Jane: He left me. Frank: More like you left him. Jane: You should talk. Frank: Well, listen to you. Jane: Listen to you. Frank: Listen to you. Jane: LISTEN TO YOU! Frank: LISTEN TO YOU! Rocco: Jeez, you two knock it off! You'd think you were married or something.
The Man Behind the Man: Papshmear from parts 1 and 3 who was a liaison for a mysterious organization who's only purpose is to spread mayhem around the world. You can hear him utter "Gaddafi" over the phone in the 3rd movie.
Man Child: Frank and Jane. "Their song" is "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."
When trying to gain access to the baseball field in part 1, Drebin knocks out one of the umpires so he can steal his outfit. He throws the unconscious umpire on a table and undoes both their pants, when a cleaning guy happens to walk in. He just shrugs it off with "sorry, fellas," and continues his rounds.
In 2 1/2, Frank is dwelling in a bar with Hocken when they receive a couple of heavily decorated drinks from Jane, who beckons Frank to come closer. Absentmindedly, Frank sits and declares "This is not easy to say. I'm lonely. I'm lost. I need someone to hold," not realizing that he sat in a table next to Jane's, getting a sneer from the butchy guy sitting on the table.
In 33⅓, Drebin goes to the Sperm Bank he mistakes for a regular doctor's office and describes an injury he sustained in the back yard with his uncle. He thinks he's talking about his arm describing a football injury. They... don't.
The second movie homages the four-foot shootout from the series.
Nebulous Evil Organisation - Drebin beats up the world's most evil men in the first movie. Also, whoever Papshmear is working for.
Negative Continuity: Played for laughs, of course. In the second film, Frank crashes through the villain's window and is shown appropriately dirty and battered. But in the very next shot, he stands up and is completely clean.
Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: At the beginning of the third movie, Frank has a nightmare (which at first is presented as if it's really happening) in which he's at a train station and finds himself trying to stop a Mafia shootout. Things quickly become even more complicated when President Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II wander into the crossfire....and then a gang of deranged postal workers show up....
Jane: Oh Frank! Who would want to kill you? Frank: Before tonight? Only the cable company...
Frank: Oh congratulations, I understand that Edna's pregnant again. Hocken: Yes, and if I catch the guy who did it—
Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught and Establishing Character Moment: A very subtle one. Quentin Hapsburg is playing Solitaire at a gala and begins to get fed up with the cards he's being dealt; he gives up and picks up the pile to look for the cards he needs. He doesn't even have the respect for the rules or the patience for a game where he has no opponents and there's nothing at stake.
Also, Hidden Depths, considering how buffoonish the environment of the movies plays out.
Not Helping Your Case: In the second movie, all three major energy companies (coal, oil, and nuclear) produce commercials that defend their energy brand. However, all are filled with ironic imagery that, if it weren't played for comedy, wouldn't convince people that their energy policy is the way to go. (for example, the nuclear ad features a mutated, two-tailed dog).
Not What It Looks Like: In the first film, Frank is swapping clothes with the knocked out umpire. The janitor walks in and assumes something sexual (understandably so, since the umpire's ass is propped up on the table) and says, "Whoops. Sorry, fellas." and backs out.
Also, the aforementioned "sexual assault with a concrete dildo" incident. See Accidental Pervert.
Only a Flesh Wound: Nordberg is shot up in the beginning of the movie, but luckily "The bullets missed every major organ". He spends the movie recovering and is just fine in the next movie.
Most of the damage that he receives is unwittingly caused by himself or Frank.
Police Brutality: Hilariously averted in part 2 when Ed tries to beat up a goon whom he thought beat up Prof. Meinheimer.
Police Code for Everything: A deleted scene from the first film (which is seen in most TV airings) involves Frank informing the front desk of the hospital that they've got a 411 in progress. The woman replies, "411? Oh my God, fire!" Frank corrects her: "No no, 1411." She replies, "My God, a poison gas leak!" Frank tries again, "No no, a 1414." The woman screams and jumps out the window.
Prison Rape: Played for laughs and averted in the third movie.
Prison Riot: Frank starts one in the third film to divert guards' attention from Rocko's escape plan. For completely silly reasons:
Frank Drebin: Hey! You call this slop? Real slop has got chunks of things in it! This is more like gruel! And this Château le Blanc '68 is supposed to be served slightly chilled! This is room temperature! What do you think we are? Animals?
Say Your Prayers: In the second movie, a punk points a gun at multiple police officers and says this. Luckily, he's knocked out by Frank opening the door and knocking the punk unconscious in the process. Amusingly, Frank doesn't even realize he thwarted a crime when thanked for it.
After experiencing marital problems, Jane goes with a girlfriend on a Thelma & Louise-style road trip in the third movie. The friend is even named "Louise" and dresses just like Susan Sarandon did in that movie.
Also in the third movie, the Dillon gang go to a bunker to test their atomic weapon. After the detonation, the explosion blows their hair straight up, making them look like the main characters from Beavis And Butthead, which Rocko himself further alludes to by muttering: "Huh-huh-huh, huh-huh-huh, cool..."
"I shoot the bastards. That's *my* policy." is a parody of a similar scene of Dirty Harry about Cowboy Cop antics.
Frank describing the creation of the universe when he's asked to "start at the begining" is a nod to ZAZ's earlier masterpiece, Airplane, which has a similar scene after Jonny is asked for a summary of what's happened so far.
Jane: Oh, honey, it's just that I love you so much. Frank: My little lover sparrow. Jane: My puppy wuppy wuvver. Frank: My little love biscuit. Jane: My little snookie wookums. Frank: My little lady cheesy puffy. Therapist: Mr. and Mrs. Drebin, please, I'm a diabetic. I really think you two ought to go now.
Slip into Something More Comfortable: Parodied in the first film. After Frank Drebin arrives home late at night, he finds Jane (then working for Ludwig) wearing one of Drebin's shirts. After some suggestive dialog, Frank, who is wearing a collared shirt, slacks, and a tie, says that he will go slip into something more comfortable. He emerges wearing a suit. Then he slips out of it completely by just pulling the collar.
Talking Is a Free Action: Lampshaded or subverted depending on how you want to look at it - In 2½ Frank and Jane are having a heartwarming moment when Ed reminds Frank about the huge bomb that's set to explode any second
That Came Out Wrong: In the second film, Jane walks out on Frank at the restaurant, and Frank replies with:
Frank: I'm single! I, I love being single! I haven't had this much sex since I was a Boy Scout leader! [Music and conversation stops; everyone stares] Frank: I mean, at the time, I was dating a lot.
Tranquillizer Dart: Frank Drebin's cufflink tranquilizer darts in the first movie. However, they're not quite instant enough, since the bad guy staggers around long enough to fall over a railing to a Cruel and Unusual Death.
Verbal Backspace: See above with Juggling Loaded Guns. Also, in the first movie, done by all the other baseball umpires who were arguing against Drebin's (flagrantly incorrect) call, when he draws his gun.
Western Terrorists: The Dillon gang in the third movie. Granted, they are secretly taking their orders from Arabs, but they're obviously plotting bombings more for the money than for hatred of the United States.
What Happened to the Mouse?: In the first movie the Queen seems to be entirely forgotten about after the assassin is foiled. Technically she doesn't need to appear since she's out of danger but it's strange that we don't see her reaction to Frank talking down a hypnotized Jane despite multiple reaction shots from the other people in the stadium.
To say nothing of the fact that Nordberg was never actually cleared of the crime he was accused of.
In the third film, Anna Nicole Smith drops out of the film after Drebin discovers she's a man. Thus, making her a Karma Houdini.
"I'm Lieutenant Frank Drebin, Police Squad! And don't ever let me catch you guys in America. (Drebin then falls out the window)
Whole Plot Reference: Romantic subplot aside, 33⅓ is basically a comedic retelling of White Heat. A police officer infiltrates a prison, befriends a violent criminal who loves his mother, and helps him escape in order to determine the site of his next crime.
Will Talk For A Price: Parodied. Frank Drebin questions the dock manager during his investigation of the attempted murder on Nordberg. The guy's memory is foggy, so Frank gives him a twenty. When the guy subsequently asks Frank an innocuous question, he gives Frank his twenty back to persuade him to answer, gives him another twenty for another question, and has to borrow an additional twenty from Frank because he's out of money.
You Are Too Late: Two of the henchmen in the second movie tell this to Frank as he interrogates them.
Also in the third movie, when the police squad arrives at the Academy Award ceremony while Frank is already on the stage, causing mayhem. When they declare they are there to stop a disaster, one of the people behind the stage assumes they are talking about Frank and states "you're too late".