A 1998 Leslie Nielsen
movie written and directed by ZAZ protege Pat Proft, Wrongfully Accused
is a classic example of the joke-a-minute (more like every 20 seconds) school of comedy.
The frame parody is built around the 1993 version of The Fugitive
and Nielsen's character's pursuit of the one-armed, one-legged and one-eyed man who killed his lover's husband. Richard Crenna's delightful parody of Tommy Lee Jones
' fast-talking federal marshal is probably the highlight of the movie, with many of the best lines. However, The Fugitive
is hardly the only movie that gets parodied here. Particularly notable targets include the Mission: Impossible
, Lord of the Dance
, Mentos commercials, Baywatch
, The Usual Suspects
and even North by Northwest
, among many others.
This film contains examples of the following tropes:
- Artificial Limbs: Sean Laughrea has them, replacing an eye, an arm, and a leg.
- Big Stupid Doo Doo Head: While on the bus being transported to prison, Ryan and one of his guards get into an argument that eventually degenerates into this.
- Bullet Dancing: With a parody of Riverdance!
- Butt Monkey: Ryan goes through quite a bit of abuse trying to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.
- The Cameo: John Walsh, long time host of America's Most Wanted, appears in the film though it isn't clear if he's playing as the America's Most Wanted host as he is seen in a backwoods bait and tackle shop.
- Clear My Name
- Credits Gag: After the "Boom Operator" (a real film job, operating the boom microphone) are listed a "Pow Operator" and "Kablam Operator".
- Criminal Doppelgänger: Parodied. Ryan sees a "Wanted" poster of himself and rapidly draws black hair, glasses, a beard and a tiny hat over his image. Immediately, another man with black hair, glasses, moustache and tiny hat in the same building is arrested.
- Double Take: During the North by Northwest parody, an airplane is headed towards Ryan, and Ryan looks back nine times before he starts running away.
- Dramatic Shattering: After Ryan exits the bait shop, John Walsh pieces together the string of lies that Ryan created, which he made using various items and signs in the bait shop. John drops his coffee in slow motion, which shatters on the floor, in a nod to The Usual Suspects. However, true to a parody flick, John also drops a doughnut, an egg, and a water balloon.
- Eccentric Millionaire: Hibbing Goodhue.
- Gainaxing: During the Baywatch scene, complete with bounce sound effects.
- Leg Cannon: A firearm is disguised as an artificial limb.
- Line-of-Sight Name: As seen in the tackle shop scene.
- Major Injury Underreaction: A staple of the genre, but especially prominent in Goodhue's murder scene - he reacts to multiple gunshot wounds with a simple "Ouch!" and exasperatedly asking if his killer is "quite finished."
- Market-Based Title: The film had several French-language titles, one of which was "Is there a fugitive on board?" to blend in with other French titles for Leslie Nielsen movies.
- This is an odd exception in Spain, where almost all other Nielsen films (and a few other Rapid-Fire Comedy movies) famously end with the words "...as you can". Instead, this is just titled "What a fugitive".
- In Russia, the movie is literally known as Wrongfully Accused Leslie Nielsen, to make sure people don't confuse it with... well, The Fugitive.
- The Mel Brooks Number: Right at the beginning, with Lambchop.
- Miscarriage of Justice
- Parody: Several films get parodied such as the ones mentioned above and even films like Patriot Games and The Empire Strikes Back get a brief nod.
- Railroad Tracks of Doom: Complete with a train that chases him by literally hopping off its rails and chasing him through a forest.
- Rapid-Fire Comedy
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: During the Chase Scene in the sewer.
- Title Drop: Naturally.
- Trash Landing: Unfortunately for Ryan, the trash consists of nothing but dirty diaper bags.
- Waxing Lyrical:
: The Beatles
said it best. She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, listen, Michelle ma belle, this nowhere man is the walrus, koo koo kachoo!