Wrongfully Accused

on August 21, 1998 by Jon A. Walz
   The filmmakers from the Zucker Bros. camp have been very good to Leslie Nielsen over the years. From TV's "Police Squad" to "Airplane" to the "Naked Gun" movies, the Zuckers' comic assault of visual gags, pun-laden dialogue, bizarre innuendos and slapstick action has certainly become archetypal in modern comedy, and Nielsen's wry work in these films contributed greatly to making them the classics they are. But the ingeniousness is sorely missing in longtime Zucker associate scripter/director Pat Proft's attempts to tackle the genre (a.k.a. the Leslie Nielsen franchise) on his own, first with last year's abysmal "Mr. Magoo" and now with the equally disappointing "Wrongfully Accused." Not even Nielsen's hilarious trademark deadpan-in-the-face-of-the-ridiculous performance can save this lame material.
   In this insipid spoof of the Harrison Ford film, Nielsen stars as Ryan Harrison, the smarmy "Lord of the Violin," who is accused of murdering socialite Hibbing Goodhue (Michael York). Goodhue, of course, was murdered by a guy with a fake arm and a fake leg, who Harrison must track down. Richard Crenna, who is always a hoot in dramatic roles, tries (and fails) to play the Tommy Lee Jones with a disjointed, rambling humor. The rest of the story you already know--just add lots of scatological humor.
   "Wrongfully Accused" is a complete failure as a work of comedy and a does absolutely nothing to extend its comic heritage. True inspiration made the manic, madcap style of "Kentucky Fried Movie" and "Airplane" absolutely groundbreaking, but now, after 20-or-so years of dilution and ripping-off-the-rip-off, all that is left is an in-bred, three-headed child called "Wrongfully Accused."    Starring Leslie Nielsen, Richard Crenna, Kelly Le Brock and Michael York. Written and directed by Pat Proft. Produced by James G. Robinson, Pat Proft and Bernd Eichinger. A Warner release. Rated PG-13 for sex-related humor and language. Running time: 87 min.
Tags: Leslie Nielsen, Richard Crenna, Kelly Le Brock, Michael York, Written and directed by Pat Proft, Produced by James G. Robinson, Pat Proft, Bernd Eichinger, A Warner release, manic, humor, comedy, action

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