Police Academy (1984) starring Steve Guttenberg, Michael Winslow, Kim Cattrall, George Gaynes, G.W. Bailey, Bubba Smith, David Graf, Leslie Easterbrook, Marion Ramsey, George R. Robertson, Donovan Scott, Bruce Mahler, Scott Thomson, Brant von Hoffman directed by Hugh Wilson Movie Review

Police Academy (1984)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Steve Guttenberg and Michael Winslow in Police Academy (1984)

Guttenberg Gaynes Some Fans

As someone who grew up during the 80s I have fond memories of "Police Academy" and loved the whole stupidity of the first movie. Yes what seemed like a never ending series of inferior sequels became eventually painful but the first "Police Academy" worked and to be honest watching it now, more than 30 years after it was released, it is still entertaining. Owing a lot to the humour of "Airplane" and "National Lampoon's Animal House", "Police Academy" is simply daft, almost pointless but strangely good fun with a mix of jokes which go from crude to inane. And whilst the likes of George Gaynes, Michael Winslow and G.W. Bailey give memorable performances "Police Academy" belongs very much to Steve Guttenberg as slacker Mahoney.

When the newly elected Lady Mayoress decides that anyone can join the police force it causes an influx of misfits to sign up to the police academy, much to the annoyance of Lt. Thaddeus Harris (G.W. Bailey - No Child of Mine) who sets about getting those he thinks unsuitable to quit. One such person is Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg - Meet the Santas) who finds himself forced into going through police training or else it is a stint in prison. Not allowed to quit Mahoney tries to get thrown out but soon discovers he is a special case and Commandant Eric Lassard (George Gaynes - To Be or Not to Be) has agreed to keep him in no matter what. Realising he can't get out of training, Mahoney settles down to having a good time whilst also flirting with fellow new recruit Cadet Karen Thompson (Kim Cattrall - Porky's).

George Gaynes as Commandant Eric Lassard in Police Academy (1984)

To be honest "Police Academy" doesn't really have a storyline despite it being about a bunch of misfit civilians becoming police cadets and going through training. Oh there is the story of Mahoney who has to go through the training or face prison and there is a riot at the end where the bunch of hapless cadets get to come good and save the day but there really isn't a storyline. And so what "Police Academy" really is, is a movie made up of set piece gags and comedic characters who are the most useless cadets going.

Now you get the feeling that the creative talents behind "Police Academy" threw every gag at it as possible and hoped some ended up funny as for every amusing gag from Mahoney winding up Lt. Harris or Commandant Eric Lassard's being forgetful you get the less funny Blankes and Copeland getting their hair shaved off. But thankfully you remember the funnier moments from "Police Academy" and so the scene where Blankes and Copeland get duped into going to the Blue Oyster club stays with you long after the movie has ended. And to be honest it is an impressive list of jokes which stay with you from Michael Winslow making mischief with his sound effects through to Sgt. Debbie Callahan taking advantage of Cadet George Martín for sneaking in to the women's barracks. At times it feels like it is trying too hard to be funny and many of the jokes surrounding George Gaynes as Commandant Eric Lassard end up falling flat on their face, although the one surrounding a hooker hiding in a lectern and giving him a blow job is priceless.

As for the acting well all the cast get a moment to shine be it Michael Winslow as Cadet Larvell Jones with his amazing sound effects or G.W. Bailey as Mahoney's worst nightmare Lt. Thaddeus Harris. But this first "Police Academy" is all about Steve Guttenberg as Cadet Carey Mahoney as he tries to get himself thrown out of the academy for various pranks. In many ways this is Guttenberg's best movie and he floats through it having great fun whilst trying his best to stop that smile turning into laughter. And whilst the semi romantic plot which sees him falling for Cadet Karen Thompson played by Kim Cattrall is weak it does at least add a bit of story to all the humour.

What this all boils down to is that whilst "Police Academy" really is just a series of gags about misfits going through police training it is good fun. There is nothing that is clever about it and for every joke which works there are a couple which don't but thanks to the more memorable gags and scenes it is good fun and easily the best in the long list of "Police Academy" movies.