The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991) starring Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy, O.J. Simpson, Robert Goulet, Richard Griffiths, Jacqueline Brookes directed by David Zucker Movie Review

The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley as Frank & Jane in The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear

Bush Jokes a Plenty

So in 1988 we got "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!" a rip roaring comedy from the creators of "Airplane!" Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams and David Zucker. So popular was "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!" and in particular Leslie Nielsen as Frank Drebin that 3 years later we got a sequel "The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear". And to put it simply "The Naked Gun 2½" was more of the same with the only change being a different storyline. But whilst amusing with numerous memorable scenes in particular the spoof of the pottery scene from "Ghost", "The Naked Gun 2½" did understandably lack the freshness of the first movie.

It looks like the days are numbered for the traditional energy suppliers when President Bush orders Dr. Albert S. Meinheimer (Richard Griffiths) to publish his report on energy supply for the future. Not happy with these plans the industry bosses lead by Quentin Hapsburg (Robert Goulet) decide to kidnap Meinheimer and replace him with a look a like who will deliver the report that they devise. But they don't take into account Lt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) who becomes suspicious and sets about stopping them in their tracks whilst also reigniting his love for Jane (Priscilla Presley) who just so happens to be working for Meinheimer.

Lt. Frank Drebin getting to grips with more than just a Lobster in The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear

So as was the case with "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!", "The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear" does have a storyline one surrounding are favourite bungling Lieutenant, Frank Drebin, trying to stop the big boys of the energy business from getting away with their evil plans to stop a scientist giving a report on his energy findings. But it really isn't an important storyline and the only important thing is how many opportunities it throws up for jokes and it certainly throws up many and a lot more which really have no relation to the storyline but are still funny.

Again much of the reason why "The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear" is thanks to the writing of Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams and David Zucker as well as the performance of Leslie Nielsen. They manage to make daft moments such as the dining scene with President Bush amusing by going off on tangents with gags such as Drebin opening a door into the face of Mrs Bush or whilst eating lobster end up manipulating the claw so it pinches a woman's breast. It sounds daft and it is but it works especially with Leslie Nielsen once again on fine form with his dead pan delivery and comic timing.

But there is a negative and although we have a new storyline and to be honest all new jokes it feels a little unoriginal. Because we've seen it all before even bringing the new material to the movie doesn't stop it feeling a little familiar. Which means instead of there being a lot of memorable scenes there are just a few such as that "Ghost" pottery scene spoof and those surrounding Drebin accidentally assaulting Mrs. Bush.

As well as Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy and O.J. Simpson return to their characters providing the same level of humour which they managed in the first movie. But adding to the mix there is also Robert Goulet as the villain of the piece Quentin Hapsburg and also Richard Griffiths as Dr. Albert S. Meinheimer ending up the fool to much of Drebin's accident prone ways, including the birthmark on the butt scene which is so daft it's a wonder no one was cracking up when they made it.

What this all boils down to is that "The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear" is still a very entertaining movie, full of set piece gags and entertaining performances from all the cast in particular Leslie Nielsen who makes these "Naked Gun" movies so much fun. But at the same time it understandably lacks that freshness of the first movie and lacks those really memorable and imaginative scenes which the first movie had in abundance.