Sunday, July 08, 2012

Scene Stealer: Naked Gun: 33 1/3: The Final Insult

My husband bowls over with laughter every time he watches a certain scene in Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult.  We’ve literally watched it repeatedly and his laughter never wanes.  In fact, he laughs harder the more times we watch it.  It’s a hilarious scene and it makes me laugh until my sides hurt too.  

The Naked Gun series is all about parodying other films, and in the third installment a big Oscar parody is the centerpiece of the film.  Lieutenant Frank Drebin is assigned to thwart a terrorist from detonating a bomb at the Academy Awards.  In order to get past security and into the auditorium, Frank poses as talk-show host Phil Donahue, which is in and of itself very funny and quite clever.  What results is a series of side-splittingly funny moments where Frank winds up on stage to present the award for best actress with co-presenter Racquel Welch.  In his usual bumbling, klutzy way, Frank winds up wrecking more havoc than the terrorist his is trying to stop.  He is knocked over by a moving stairway, rolls down the stairs and bashes into Welch causing her to deep-throat the microphone.   

 The bomb is believed to be in one of the envelopes and Jane (Prescilla Presley) feverishly examines each one backstage while Frank tries to stall onstage.  His stalling techniques are ridiculous and hilarious.  Frank continuously snatches the envelope from Welch’s hand each time she moves to open it and announce the winner.  He goes off on tangent after tangent, talking about the nation’s poor and hungry and fattening up and skinning cats to keep thousands warm.    The reactions of Welch, the audience, the cameramen and the director of the show are priceless.  “Jesus, Phil,” Welch exclaims at one point as Frank babbles nonsensically, and it’s impossible not to crack up because Frank has made Phil Donahue look like a total loon.

Welch grows increasingly agitated and frustrated with Frank.  She snatches the envelope from Frank yet again and moves away from him, but he tackles her to the floor.  Welch eventually succeeds in opening the envelope and there is no explosion, but the bomb is still out there.  Frank then stumbles into a production number in which Pia Zadora, playing herself, sings and dances to "This Could Be the Start of Something."  He disrupts the choreography and causes the pyramid that is supposed to close the musical number to collapse sending Pia Zadora headfirst into the tuba of the band member sitting in front of the stage.  The entire sequence keeps you laughing as Frank creates chaos through one absurd foil after another. 

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