We know we're in a 1988 film when we're invited to laugh at O.J. Simpson in an opening slapstick sequence. We can also pinpoint the year of production when hard-nosed cop Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen), during a scuffle with the world's leading dictators, wipes the wine-colored birthmark off the head of Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.
Those wacky ZAZ boys -- David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker -- serve up a feature-length spin-off of their cult favorite TV show Police Squad!. Seeking vengeance when his partner (Simpson) is shot full of holes by drug dealers, dead-pan and dead-brained Lt. Frank Drebin searches for the Mister Big behind it all.
Drebin suspects above-reproach shipping magnate Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban), but he can't prove a thing.
Bumped from the force by the mayor (Nancy Marchand), Drebin, with the unexpected assistance of Ludwig's ex-girlfriend (Priscilla Presley), manages to nab the bad guy at a baseball game, where Reggie Jackson has been programmed to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. MGM mogul Irving Thalberg once reportedly told the Marx Brothers, You can't build jokes on top of jokes.
The producers of Naked Gun prove otherwise; indeed, one could develop writer's cramp just listing the gags in the film's first 20 minutes. Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad was followed by two lesser but still hilarious sequels, Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991) and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994).