25 September 2012 | Benjamin_Cox
Third time unlucky but still worth a punt - 65%
There are certain films that, on occasion, can escape almost any criticism and a fine spoof is one such occasion. The first two Naked Gun films are wonderful examples of the genre, filled with both visual gags and rapid one-liners that also remain funny after multiple viewings. Sadly, there can be too much of a good thing and this final entry into the series feels tired, strained and kinda desperate.
Spoof stalwart Leslie Nielsen returns for the last time as Frank Drebin, Police Squad's most decorated officer who is retiring to spend time with his new wife Jane (Priscilla Presley). But Drebin can't ignore the threat of crime for long and after working undercover on behalf of his old buddies Ed Hocken (George Kennedy) and Nordberg (O.J. Simpson), Frank soon finds himself back in the fold and pitching his wits against determined bomber Rocco (Fred Ward) who is planning to blow up a critical target after he escapes from prison. Can Frank get the job done, even with the voluptuous distraction of Rocco's moll Tanya (Anne Nicole Smith)?
The thing with all Naked Gun movies is to not take it seriously and "The Naked Gun 33 ⅓: The Final Insult" is no exception. It's as daft and stupid as peeing on an electric fence but sadly, the humour isn't quite as successful this time around. There is some noticeable repetition of gags - not just from the earlier movies but also from "Police Squad", the TV show that spawned this franchise - and some of the visual gags felt a little lame. Thank God Nielsen is still on form, perfectly cast as the straight-faced idiot working in his own little world with its own little logic. The rest of the cast simply work alongside him but some seem distracted almost - Smith has little to do besides pout and squeeze into some lingerie while Kathleen Freeman, as the matriarch of Rocco's gang, feels a little wasted.
But despite the flaws and rough edges, there is still a good deal to laugh at and much to savour, as if you're watching aging rockers having one last hurrah before splitting up for good. The magic might have faded a little, the lines in the face are a bit more ragged and the tunes may sound a bit familiar but who cares if you're still having fun? It simply isn't as funny as the two earlier films - that is just the facts - but you can't knock it for lack of effort. But a much-reduced running time and a recycling of old ideas means that The Final Insult feels more like an epilogue instead of a glorious last chapter.