Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Ed Helms. And as a big fan of The State, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant…oh, sorry R. Ben Garant, so much so that I still talk about having lunch one table over from them while attending the 2008 San Diego Comic Con. So, this is not aimed at them. It’s aimed at whoever keep pressing the remake button at the studios. Not every film needs to be remade, people!
The original franchise, which was based on the short-lived TV show, Police Squad, was created by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker and starred Leslie Nielsen as Detective Frank Drebin, a bumbling detective who solved cases almost by accident.
It was also to TV police procedurals of the 60s and 70s what Airplane was to airport disaster movies. In other words, it was a dead on parody of an entire genre, loaded with double entendres, pun-filled wordplay, and silly slapstick.
One of the reason why it worked so well is because of Nielsen, who spent most of the 60s and 70s doing serious guest-starring roles on the cops shows the Naked Gun was parodying. His deadpan approach to the films, not far from the acting style he used in his dramatic roles, is one of the reasons why those original films were successful enough to be remade.
So, it was a film franchise that was a reflection of the times it was made in and how its star was up to then perceived. Two major things this remake will not have going for it.
I could see if maybe they cast, say,someone like David Caruso and decided to go with a parody of your CSIs and NCISs , then it might be in the spirit of the original. Ed Helms, while not shying away from darker, more serious roles in his film career, is primarily known as a comic actor. That right there loses a lot of what Neilsen brought to the original.
I know one of the most heinous things any critic, journalist or reviewer can do is condemn a piece of art before it’s created, but I can’t see this remake capturing anything that made the original great. It might be good on its own, but its not on its own. It’s a Naked Gun film. That gives it a lot to live up to.