Anthony's Film Review
The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991)
The laughs continue in this sequel to an insanely hilarious comedy film...
Even though it's not nearly as funny as its predecessor, The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear still manages to deliver the goods just by doing what the last movie did before: stuff a ton of senseless jokes into a script involving equally goofball characters. Leslie Nielsen, an actor who knows how to be funny while maintaining a completely straight face, is back as the bumbling Lieutenant Frank Drebin of Police Squad. (Remember, the Naked Gun movies are a spin-off of the 1982 TV show Police Squad!) Also returning are Priscilla Presley as Drebin's love interest named Jane Spencer, O.J. Simpson as the accident-prone Nordberg, and the opening credits police car that drives into the weirdest places. This time, the car goes through a bullfighting arena, a crowd of bumper cars, a lounge with showgirls, a bowling alley, the inside of the human body, a hospital operating room, and back into the street where it irritates Zsa Zsa Gabor.
In a movie like this, there's no point in me telling you the plot, but I'll do it anyway just so you know the context of the jokes. The story involves the kidnapping of a scientist who is prepared to deliver a speech to the President of the United States regarding energy efficiency. The villain, who has a stake in environmentally harmful business, replaces the scientist with an imposter who would give a fraudulent speech in the villain's favor. It is up to Lt. Drebin to uncover the scheme and rescue the scientist. Oh, and try to win back the heart of Jane Spencer. Can't forget that.
Like I said, The Naked Gun 2 1/2 isn't as funny as the first Naked Gun, but it's still quite good because there's enough humor for it to avoid being a dull comedy. You can still expect to see gags in the foreground and background every minute or two, and they're present even as the characters act so seriously in the situations they're in. Without going into too much detail, some of the funniest scenes involve failure to place a tracking device under a van, a grappling hook and a guard dog, and an attempt to use friction to destroy a rope. Yes, I know it doesn't sound funny when I describe the humor this way, but I want to preserve the surprise of these comical situations.
I think the sense of familiarity from the first movie is the reason this sequel has less humor. If you know the pacing, timing, and style of the jokes from the first Naked Gun, the jokes here should be no surprise. I often found myself being able to predict when a joke would be presented and, in some cases, the type of joke that would occur. It's one thing to see something funny that I didn't expect and laugh out loud. With many of the jokes being expected, I found myself laughing as a sign of approval. But I still genuinely loved the humor.
So there you have it. The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear is funny. You can expect to laugh with that good feeling you get with clever comedies. And it's a sequel that does not disappoint. Leslie Nielsen has not lost his touch despite his age. The ZAZ trio - Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and David Zucker - has not lost its creativity and wacky sense of humor. In fact, you can watch the closing credits for more jokes hidden in the otherwise no-nonsense information about everyone involved in the movie. After all, the reason we watch good comedies like the Naked Gun is to laugh. And do it delightfully.
For more information about The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! and The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult and the original TV series Police Squad!.