For most movie fans, the word “reboot” is synonymous with “lame” and “please dear god let them stop raping my childhood,” and for very good reason. Besides for a small smattering of exceptions, reboots tend to be poorly executed, studio mandated cash grabs, which – according to some – sully the original.
And the next original up for some sullying is the classic Leslie Nielsen slapstick comedy, Naked Gun. Because, apparently we did something wrong and need to be punished.
This news actually broke on the weekend, but thanks to Nelson Mandela’s funeral occupying all the airwaves and my brain deciding that the story was too traumatic and therefore deleting the memory until Darryn reminded me about it yesterday, we’re only reporting on this now. And no, it still doesn’t seem like a good idea.
Variety reported that Paramount is looking to reboot the classic comedy, with The Hangover and We’re The Millers star Ed Helms (who was also starring in WB’s reboot of National Lampoon’s Family Vacation before it got shelved) set to revive the character of bumbling police detective Frank Drebin, made famous by the peerless deadpannery of the late, great Leslie Nielsen. The studio has tapped Night at the Museum and Reno 911 writing duo Thomas Lennon and R. Ben Garant to pen the script, which apparently looks to put “a new spin on the Drebin character”. Oof.
The original Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad was released in 1988 and was a spinoff, as the name implies, from the short-lived TV spoof series Police Squad. The film, which saw Nielse’s Drebin trying to stop Ricardo “KHAAAAAAAAN” Montalban’s villain from assassinating Queen Elizabeth at a baseball game, would become a box office and critical smash (it was named the 7th funniest movie ever made by Empire Magazine), spawning two just as popular sequels – The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear and Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult.
The franchise is regarded as one of the high watermarks of the slapstick genre, so Paramount certainly has an uphill battle ahead of them. Helms has certainly proven himself a competent comedian, but it’s going to take a herculean effort to match Nielsen’s level of expert buffoonery. This immediately puts me in mind of Steve Martin – another accomplished funnyman – having to follow in the great Peter Seller’s footsteps in the recent Pink Panther remakes, and coming up short in just about every area. It was painful to have to sit through that, and that’s not even taking the Beyonce factor into consideration.
Now in case the 370 or so words I have written before this didn’t encapsulate my view on the idea of a Naked Gun reboot, I’ve decided to close this article with this video I found that perfectly voices my feelings on the matter.
Last Updated: December 18, 2013