Opening so soon after Mafia! tried our patience for the whole Airplane! and Naked Gun parody thing, Wrongfully Accused has a lot going against it. It’s sloppy, tired, obvious, and overdone. It stars Leslie Nielsen in the Harrison Ford-Fugitive role, and this point in his silver-haired career he’s the Marcel Marceau of parodists (and I mean that in a man-walking-against-the-wind, not-good way). Written and directed by Pat Proft (who co-scripted the Naked Gun and Hot Shots! films), the movie costars Richard Crenna in the Tommy Lee Jones role, Melinda McGraw in the Priscilla Presley-in-Naked Gun role, and Kelly Le Brock as the scheming siren with the dangerous cleavage. There’s a wooden erection gag, a sexy, tongue-in-one-ear-and-out-the-other joke (also in Mafia!), and a scene in which Nielsen, as a concert violinist, looses his bow like an arrow.
But strewn throughout this shameless, old-fart comedy circus are so many giddy, good-natured, much-needed stink bombs aimed at middlebrow and lowbrow pop culture that a few are bound to hit the mark: The worst excesses of Baywatch, JFK, Anaconda, Charlie’s Angels, Mission: Impossible, Braveheart, Titanic, and Field of Dreams are appropriately honored. So too are North by Northwest, Hong Kong action movies, and Mentos commercials. Some of the most pointed commentary is also the most throwaway. One favorite: when wrongfully accused Nielsen gets besieged by a pack of local newscasters. They’re all women, they’re all wearing the same TV-newswoman wardrobe, they’ve all got the same TV-newswoman hair. How nice that TV newswomen have become ubiquitous enough to be worthy of parody. And how smart of Proft to know that they’re due for a friendly kick in their trench-coated rears. C+