The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear

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The Naked Gun 2½:
The Smell of Fear
Naked Gun 2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Zucker
Produced by Robert K. Weiss
Written by David Zucker
Pat Proft
Based on Police Squad! 
by David Zucker
Jim Abrahams
Jerry Zucker
Starring Leslie Nielsen
Priscilla Presley
George Kennedy
O.J. Simpson
Music by Ira Newborn
Cinematography Robert M. Stevens
Edited by Christopher Greenbury
James R. Symons
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s)
  • June 28, 1991 (1991-06-28)
Running time 81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $23 million
Box office $86,930,411

The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear is a 1991 comedy film starring Leslie Nielsen as the comically bumbling Police Lt. Frank Drebin of Police Squad!. Priscilla Presley plays the role of Jane, with O.J. Simpson as Nordberg and George Kennedy as police captain Ed Hocken. The film also features Robert Goulet (who previously made a "special guest star" appearance on Police Squad!) as the villanous Quentin Hapsburg and Richard Griffiths as renewable fuel advocate Dr. Albert S. Meinheimer (as well as his evil double, Earl Hacker). Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mel Tormé and members of the Chicago Bears have cameo roles.

David Zucker returns from the first entry as director and screenwriter of the film. Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker serve as executive producers for the film and receive writing credit due to their contributions to the first entry of the series and the Police Squad! television series. However, neither contributed to the screenplay for the film.

It is the first sequel to The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, and was followed by Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult. The film is marketed with the tagline "Frank Drebin is back. Just accept it."

Plot[edit]

Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) is honored at the White House, where President George H. W. Bush (John Roarke) announces that he will base his recommendation for the country's energy program on Dr. Albert Meinheimer's (Richard Griffiths) advice at the National Press Club dinner the following week. The heads of the coal and oil (fossil fuel) and nuclear industries are apparently distressed by this fact, as Dr. Meinheimer is an advocate for renewable energy. Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley), now working for Dr. Meinheimer, is working late at his research institute, crying about Frank. She spots a man in a red van. A maintenance worker, emptying out garbage cans, discovers a clock with dynamite attached and takes it to the security guards, accidentally triggering it. The next morning, Frank reacquaints himself with Jane as he interviews her about the explosion. He is shown around the institute and meets Jane's boyfriend, Hexagon Oil executive Quentin Hapsburg (Robert Goulet), of whom he becomes exceedingly jealous. Frank's boss Ed Hocken (George Kennedy) finds him at a lonely blues bar. Meanwhile, at a meeting of the "energy" industry leaders, Hapsburg reveals that he has kidnapped Dr. Meinheimer and found an exact double for him, Earl Hacker, who will give their recommendation to the President endorsing fossil and nuclear fuels.

Police Squad tracks down the driver of the van, Hector Savage, and find him connected to a sex toy shop. Once he discovers the cops are onto him, Savage holes up in a house demanding money. Frank then takes it upon himself to drive a SWAT tank into and through the house, allowing Savage to escape and causing more damage when he loses all control of the tank and crashes into the city zoo, causing all of the animals to escape. Later that evening at a party Frank makes matters worse when he attempts to push the wheelchair-bound doctor up to the front of the room. However, in the encounter he notices that Dr. Meinheimer did not remember him upon sight. Since Jane told him he had a photographic memory, Frank confronts her with that at her home following the party. Jane refuses to believe him and dismisses him. Moments later Savage enters the house trying to kill Jane, who spots him and alerts Frank. After a tussle where Frank causes Savage's body to burst by sticking a water hose in his mouth and turning on the spray full blast, Frank confronts Jane again and she realizes that Frank was right. The two then rekindle their romance.

The next day Police Squad stakes out Hexagon Oil's headquarters where Dr. Meinheimer is being held. Frank tries to go undercover into the building but instead is discovered and tied up by his henchmen. The rest of Police Squad is able to return after a snafu and free both Frank and Dr. Meinheimer, and head to the Press Club Dinner to try and intercept Hacker. Finding their only way in locked, Frank, Ed, Nordberg (O.J. Simpson), and Dr. Meinheimer commandeer a mariachi band's costumes and head in, stopping briefly to perform for the gathered crowd. After heading backstage, Drebin encounters Hacker, who attacks him. Several members of the Chicago Bears see this and begin attacking Frank, not knowing he is not attacking a defenseless man. The confusion ends when Ed and Meinheimer take out Hacker so he can begin his speech.

However, due to the confusion Frank does not know that Hacker has been eliminated and goes into the gathering assuming Meinheimer is the fake. After embarrassing himself for a few seconds, Ed comes in to inform the audience that Hapsburg is the mastermind of the whole scam. However, he has already left the room with Jane and after a shootout on the roof of the building Hapsburg informs Frank that he has one more trick up his sleeve; he has rigged the building with a small nuclear device which will kill everyone in the building except for him and render Meinheimer's speech useless. As Frank gains the upper hand and is about to get the disarming code Ed enters and throws Hapsburg out a window. On his way down Hapsburg hits an awning and is able to come to the sidewalk unscathed, but is immediately met by a lion and devoured.

Frank frees Jane from being handcuffed to the bomb and they attempt to disarm it while Ed and Nordberg go back into the ballroom to evacuate it. After several failed attempts, Frank finally manages to disarm the bomb at the last second by tripping over the power cord, unplugging it. Drebin is commended by the President, who offers him a special post as head of the Federal Bureau of Police Squad. He declines, instead asking Jane to marry him, which she accepts. They go out to a balcony, where they accept commendations from the crowd. Frank spins around and accidentally knocks Barbara Bush (Margery Ross) off the balcony. She manages to hold on, although in an attempt to help her, Frank pulls off her dress.

Cast[edit]

Music[edit]

As with the first Naked Gun film, the original music for the second installment was composed and orchestrated by veteran soundtrack composer Ira Newborn, including the familiar big-band/blues theme for the Naked Gun/Police Squad! franchise.

Several of the orchestral movements revolve around two other Newborn pieces: "Drebin - Hero!" (used at the top of the pre-credit sequence, from the Paramount-logo animation onward) and the romantic "Thinking of Him" (right after the credits).

Singer Colleen Fitzpatrick (known to modern-rock fans as Vitamin C) appeared on camera as a saloon singer at a sad-sack restaurant called the Blue Note, to which a depressed Detective Lieutenant Drebin repairs after seeing former girlfriend Jane Spencer being wooed by villain Quentin Hapsburg. Fitzpatrick, then in her 20s, was made up to look like an aging, world-weary, chanteuse.

Other non-Newborn pieces make cameos in this Naked Gun installment. They include the standards "Tangerine" and "Satin Doll" and the Righteous Brothers' recordings of "Unchained Melody" (featured in Jerry Zucker's drama Ghost) and "Ebb Tide." Nielsen himself voices the Latin-flavored pop standard "Bésame Mucho" at the Press Club dinner.

Soundtrack[edit]

The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear
(Original Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Ira Newborn
Released 1991
Recorded 1991
Genre Big Band
Length 35:46
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer Ira Newborn
Robert Townson (Executive Producer)

In conjunction with the second Naked Gun film, Varèse Sarabande released a soundtrack combining the best Newborn compositions from the first two films.

Track listing
# Title Time Original Film
1 Beirut Vacation 0:56 The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
2 Drebin-Hero! 1:03 The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear'
3 Main Title 2:00 The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
4 Meat Miss Spencer 5:28 The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
5 There's Been a Bombing 0:47 The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear
6 The Exciting Chase 2:44 The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
7 Bad Boys & Meinheimers 2:44 The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear
8 Miss Spencer 1:00 The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
9 Hey Look at These 0:44 The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear
10 On the Ledge 1:36 The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
11 Thinking of... Him! 2:33 The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear
12 The Date 0:56 The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear
13 Roof, Roof!! 4:14 The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear
14 I Must Kill Frank 3:10 The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
15 I Want a World 1:47 The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear
16 End Credits 4:32 The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear

Reception[edit]

The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear was met with mixed to average reviews from critics. It currently holds a 57% Rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has a rating of 6.7 on the Internet Movie Database. An enthusiastic critic was Owen Gleiberman at Entertainment Weekly, who awarded it a B+, but observed that in some ways, it was "the most predictable of the ZAZ films. Even the inconsistent Top Secret! (1984), a demented hybrid of Elvis movies and World War II espionage thrillers, had far wilder passages. Yet I'll take lesser ZAZ over most of the competition any day. Their comedies don't just get you laughing. They put you inside a new, cracked-mirror world — a world where no detail is too small for ridicule, and where Leslie Nielsen (bless him) can be a movie star."[1] Kenneth Turan wrote in the Los Angeles Times that one should "consider "The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear." The title is funny enough, so are the credits ("Un Film de David Zucker"), and the key art, showing fearless Lt. Frank Drebin spread-eagled on a pair of speeding bullets, is good for a chuckle as well. But that's where the laughter ends, pal. Because the only thing about "The Naked Gun" that won't make you laugh is the film itself."[2]

Box office[edit]

The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear knocked Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves from the top spot at the box office.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear". Entertainment Weekly. 1991-07-12. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  2. ^ Turan, Kenneth (1991-06-28). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Naked Gun 212' Fires Blanks : The main characters, cast and creators of the off-the-wall original are back, but they forget one thing--the laughs.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-18. 
  3. ^ Strauss, Bob (1991-07-05). "Naked Gun 212` 2nd To None In Its Debut Weekend". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 

External links[edit]