The Naked Gun 33⅓
The surrealist point is reached with Det. Sgt. Frank Drebin, Police Squad Lieutenant (Ret.), undercover as Phil Donahue at the 66th Academy Awards, on the stage of the Shrine Auditorium, vomiting into a tuba, remarked by James Earl Jones with Olympia Dukakis at the podium.
My Fellow Americans
The satire, which has left our critics high and dry, is made to reflect on the President as a political front for the military-industrial complex, he works the crowds. Imbecility is a mask of murderous ambition and real imbecility at the same time.
The last point is crucial, because it plays its part in a surprise ending that figures as an apologia for the film in its entirety, which presents itself in the guise of a first-draft script directed by a tyro, “in the skin of an ass,” as Mozart’s librettist has it.
This is not the first time critics have failed to grasp what was put in front of them, but the mile of their miss has left us with some reviews nearly as comical as the implication in Maslin’s of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, that she fell asleep at the same time as you-know-who.
Film directors who know their business are the best critics. When no-one sees the good in a film, however great, directors quietly take note.
The publishing house in Peter Yates’ Curtain Call is bought by a conglomerate, the new line is diet books and How to Name Your Cat. Segal combines these as a line of clothing for overweight felines, the male administrative assistant does the catalog work himself.
His girlfriend initiates the nightmare that draws him to her from the morass of his mildness. The deus ex machina is an anger management therapist, the future bridegroom is made to accost a stewardess and a cocktail waitress inadvertently, he’s sentenced to therapy.
Every humiliation inflicted on him is paradoxically meant to goad him into action, and finally does.
The sharp characterizations emerge out of the apparent formlessness of a film with a surprise ending. The critics saw no point in it but feeble comedy, and thought Sandler’s abiding sanity was outshone by Nicholson’s mad method.