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"WRONGFULLY ACCUSED"
(1998) (Leslie Nielsen, Richard Crenna) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Minor Moderate None Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Mild None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Minor None None Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: Wrongly accused of murdering his lover's husband, a world class violinist escapes from confinement and strives to clear his name while avoiding the determined Marshal who's hot on his trail in this spoof of the action thriller, "The Fugitive."
PLOT:
Ryan Harrison (LESLIE NIELSEN) is a world class violinist who engages in a brief, but passionate affair with wealthy socialite Lauren Goodhue (KELLY LE BROCK). Following a tryst with her, Harrison stumbles upon the murder scene of her tycoon husband, Hibbing Goodhue (MICHAEL YORK), and briefly tussles with a one-armed, one-legged, one-eyed killer, Sean Laughrea (AARON PEARL), who then escapes, leaving Harrison as the only suspect.

Arrested for the crime, Harrison manages to escape via a fortunate bus/train accident and sets out to find the killer and clear his own name. However, U.S. Marshal Fergus Falls (RICHARD CRENNA) and his team are hot on his trail and determined to catch him.

With the aide of Cass Lake (MELINDA MCGRAW), a woman who may or may not be connected with the murder, Harrison works to figure out who's responsible and why. Uncovering certain clues and information, he learns that Sean and others have planned to assassinate Robert McKintyre (GERARD PLUNKETT), the U.N. Secretary General. As he continues to avoid Falls, Harrison does what he can to clear his name and stop the assassination plot.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they like comedy spoof movies such as "Airplane" and "The Naked Gun" they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For sex-related humor and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • LESLIE NIELSEN plays the world class violinist who finds himself wrongfully accused of murdering his lover's husband, and then goes on the lam to prove his innocence.
  • RICHARD CRENNA plays the U.S. Marshal who's after Harrison
  • KELLY Le BROCK plays the wealthy socialite who has an affair with Harrison and turns out to be involved in the assassination plot.
  • MELINDA McGRAW plays a woman who may or may not be trying to help Harrison and his quest.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
    The third true comedy spoof movie to be released this summer (after "Mafia" and "BASEketball"), this film -- like those recent ones before it -- offers a few random laughs, but nothing that could be categorized as hilarious in a gut-wrenching way. More apt to elicit a knowing smile or grin, the film uses the standard machine gun delivery of jokes hoping to hit with some of its "ammo." Unfortunately, more often than not the projectiles are weak at best. Watch for a lame box office debut and a quick trip to the video store for this one.

    Following the standard plot where a certain story or genre is spoofed while simultaneous, but brief jabs are thrown at other, various material, the film has two things immediately working against it. First, the timing couldn't be worse by following those two previously mentioned films (let alone the fourth hybrid movie, "There's Something About Mary") as audiences can apparently only take so much of this sort of comedy. In addition, some of the material -- in particular a tongue into one ear and out the other scene, and some fun poked at Irish line dancing -- has already been done in those other films.

    Far worse, however, is the source material that's being used as fodder for this film. In the past, the genre has traditionally picked on subjects ripe for some lambasting. Like "Mafia!" that went after the organized crime films, the best entries in the field -- the "Airplane" and "Naked Gun" films -- skewered movies that took themselves too seriously when, in reality, they were often quite inane. From the many airline disaster films to the hordes of cop (and cop buddy) flicks, the material was there for the taking.

    This film, however, goes after the critically and publicly acclaimed film, "The Fugitive." While there's nothing wrong with picking any film to spoof -- and we're certainly not protectively defensive about this one -- the original movie and its plot were anything but bad (which is often helpful for this sort of film) and that particular plot clearly hasn't been overdone. Consequently, there's just not enough there around which to build a spoofing film, and that lack of material definitely shows.

    Writer turned first-time director Pat Proft (who wrote or co-wrote the "Naked Gun" and "Hot Shots" movies) pretty much follows "The Fugitive's" plot in a way that's nearly more homage, than spoof based. Since there wasn't much in the original that was absurd, Proft tries to turn those elements around to become that, but most of the efforts are mildly humorous at best.

    Leslie Nielsen (the "Naked Gun" movies, "Mr. Magoo") -- playing the Harrison Ford part -- delivers his standard deadpan, pratfall laden character, and occasionally has a good line or two to deliver, but suffers from a lack of decent comedic material. Despite his willingness to do whatever it takes -- verbally or physically -- to elicit a laugh, the filmmakers have unfortunately pretty much left him high and dry.

    Veteran actor Richard Crenna -- playing the Tommy Lee Jones character -- has the part down pat, but likewise isn't given enough funny lines. Jones' Oscar winning performance was already over the top, and while Crenna has the barked order cadence and delivery just right, little of his material is outrageously funny like it should have been.

    The same holds true for the supporting cast members, and that's another feature that further diminishes the film's overall impact. If you think back to the original "Airplane," there were so many humorous auxiliary characters throughout the film that made every moment wackily enjoyable and the entire film a delight. Here, performers such as Kelly Le Brock, Sandra Bernhard, and Michael York are underused, unfunny, and easily could have replaced by nearly any other actor or actress with no noticeable effects.

    You do have to get writer/director Proft some credit for trying, however. The film does manage to get in many jabs, jokes and mentions of many other films and other material. Unfortunately, most of it's only mildly funny at best, despite the creative intentions.

    Beyond all of the material from "The Fugitive," there are spoofs of "Baywatch" (set on a cold Minnesota lake), "Mission Impossible," "Braveheart," "Clear and Present Danger," "Charlie's Angels," "Dirty Harry," "North by Northwest," and of course, the inevitable one on "Titanic." Throw in some jabs at "The Lord of the Dance," instrument thrashing rock artists, and even Dr. Kevorkian and O.J. Simpson, and there would seem to be plenty of room for a few comedic misses.

    While viewers will obviously recognize the source material, this film's versions of such moments, while occasionally clever, just don't have what it takes to get the audience rolled up in any collective -- or even singular -- belly laughs. You'll probably appreciate the effort, but not laugh very often.

    All of which goes to prove that the spoof genre may have run its course, and now must be considered an endangered cinematic species. While once extremely popular -- because the entries were clever, often outrageous, and almost always funny -- recent offerings of pure spoof movies have been mostly rejected by today's audiences.

    With poor box office returns, studios will be less likely to keep "breeding" such films, and they may soon go the way of the dodo bird. After ancient mankind got the laughs out of their system regarding how goofy the creatures looked, they realized they weren't that funny anymore, and the poor, rejected creatures simply vanished from the Earth (end of science class).

    Nowhere near as funny as its predecessors, and suffering from poor timing and a lack of ripe source material, this film just doesn't have what it takes to fully amuse audiences. Despite an occasional laugh -- and the usual goofy credits -- the film comes up quite short of what's normally expected from this genre. Thus, we give "Wrongfully Accused" just a 2 out of 10.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Obviously, a spoof movie like this isn't meant to be taken seriously. Nonetheless, the following does occur. Violence is extreme due to the heavy amount of gunfire and one death (all played for laughs), but profanity only rates as a moderate due to just two uses of the "s" word and several others.

    Some sexual humor occurs, but most of it falls in the realm of innuendo, other suggested activity that turns out to be benign, and one encounter that's also played for laughs. Some humor also originates from bodily function-based material, but isn't as bad as what's commonly found in this sort of movie. Although it's questionable how many kids will want to see this film, due to its nature you may want to take a closer look at the content.

    Of special note for those concerned with repetitive flashing lights, a thunderstorm scene does have some brief, full screen flashes.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Hibbing has wine with a meal.
  • People drink wine at a reception, and Harrison and others have cocktails (his in a giant, oversized glass).
  • Hibbing pours himself a drink.
  • Harrison has wine with dinner.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Being a comedy spoof, none of the material is meant to be taken seriously, but the following does occur.
  • Some humor originates from bodily functions. At one point Harrison says, "There's nothing like a good movement." Later, after Harrison learns that he was mistaking a dog's butt for its head, he states that the dog isn't going to like the treat he gave it (we don't see any of that). Finally, a joke revolves around Harrison jumping into a large basket of used diapers, being stuck in the back of the diaper truck, and then having people pass out from the smell of him as he walks by.
  • We see an eagle feeding a mouthful of worms to Harrison as if he were an eagle chick.
  • A man's ear falls to the ground after Harrison loses control of his bayonet-equipped rifle (but we don't see the cut or any blood -- just the ear).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Being a comedy spoof, none of the behavior/dialogue is meant to be taken seriously, but the following does occur.
  • Obviously the villains have both for killing Hibbing, setting up Harrison for that murder, and attempting to assassinate another man.
  • Harrison and Lauren have both for carrying on an affair (she's married).
  • After hitting a middle eastern man in the crotch with his tennis racket, the man "bows down" in pain, but Harrison comments on the man's religion and states that he must be facing East.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Being a comedy spoof, none of the material is meant to be taken seriously, but the following does occur.
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Arrows/Knives/Rockets: Used to threaten, injure or kill people and blow things up (but all done for laughs -- see "Violence" for details).
  • Scottish drill team members carry rifles fixed with bayonets.
  • Sean's fake leg is equipped with a gun inside it.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Being a comedy spoof, none of the material is meant to be taken seriously, but the following does occur.
  • Phrases: "Balls" and "Nut" (testicles), "Pee in their pants," "Bloody hell," "Up yours," "Scum sucking pucks," "Bastard," "Shut up," "Peepee head," "Ca-ca mouth," "Dink," and "Punk."
  • Trying to get Cass' attention, Harrison repeatedly throws rocks up against a window. Moments later, we briefly see a cat sail up through the air at the window, and then back down again.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of tension-filled music (often played for laughs) occurs during the movie.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 "s" words (1 written), 6 damns, 4 hells, 1 crap, 1 ass (used with "hole"), and 1 use each of "Oh Lord" and "Good Lord" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Being a comedy spoof, none of the material is meant to be taken seriously, but the following does occur.
  • Cass shows some cleavage in the outfits she wears in several scenes, as does Lauren.
  • Lauren seductively licks and sucks on a cigar to drive Harrison crazy (while also making some pleasured sounds). In response, we see a drawer on the other side of a stand from him suddenly push open (implying an erection), and when she bites off the cigar's end, the drawer quickly retracts.
  • After Harrison toasts, "Bottoms up," Lauren says, "I know mine will be." Later, Lauren tells him that she used to lick envelopes for a living -- "those long manilla ones" and he replies that he's not wearing any underwear.
  • Lauren leaves Harrison a picture of her with the inscription, "Yours in adultery."
  • We briefly hear the following words on a radio, "Masturbate, lesbians, orgasm," etc...
  • Lauren tells a police officer, "We were having sex. Hot, steamy, sweaty sex. Every part of my body tingled, orgasm after orgasm."
  • Harrison comments, "I'd forgot my genitals if they weren't glued (or screwed) between my legs."
  • Harrison briefly sees some flashbacks of him fighting the assailant where they ended up in the "69" position as well as the "man from behind" position.
  • In a brief "Baywatch" spoof, a buxom lifeguard adjusts her breasts in her one piece bathing suit (we see cleavage) and as the women run down the beach, "bouncing breast" sounds play on the soundtrack.
  • Harrison tells Cass, "I can't do it to you," but she says, "I want you to do it to me."
  • Harrison and Cass kiss in an elevator, she looks down at his crotch, and then drops out of the camera's view and we see his exaggeratedly pleasured responses (suggesting oral sex), but we then see that she's merely tying his shoe.
  • We see Harrison take off Cass' bra (from behind) and then see them in bed together having sex (nothing explicit) as a basketball announcer on the TV comments on the game ("He's been in the paint for a long time," "He's going for it," "It's dangling on the rim," "No, yes, no, yes," "He scores!" etc... ) while we see the two in bed (with some silly movement and her pleasured reactions and some mild climaxing sounds).
  • As Harrison's gun slips down deeper inside his pants, a woman happens to walk out and see him with his hand in his open fly that then pulls out the barrel of the gun like a penis.
  • We see a sign at a hospital for a sperm bank with a "night deposit" door under it.
  • A computer asks Harrison, "Are you getting any?"
  • Stating that he's ready to leave at any moment and can pack light, Harrison tells a woman that "everything we need is right here in my pants."
  • SMOKING
  • Lauren seductively sucks on a cigar for Harrison.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • None (sure, there's always something that can be talked about, but spoof films usually don't bring up many -- if any -- issues).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Being a comedy spoof, none of the material is meant to be taken seriously, but the following does occur.
  • A great deal of slapstick material occurs throughout the film. As such, people are hit with violin bows, Harrison accidentally hits a man in the crotch with a tennis racket, a railroad crossing gate hits Harrison in the face, Harrison and Cass unthinkingly hit an already knocked out guard several times, a man is shocked after grabbing a defibrillator, a man's ear falls to the ground after Harrison loses control of his bayonet-equipped rifle, Harrison tries to get the Secretary General inside a van, but hits his head on the outside and then on an anvil inside it, etc...
  • Harrison smashes his violin into several big concert speakers (like a rock artist).
  • An unseen assailant repeatedly shoots Hibbing many times and finally kills him with several arrows shot into his chest.
  • An assailant attacks Harrison and the two struggle over the man's knife (where Harrison pulls out the man's fake arm, leg and then causes his fake eyeball to pop out). Harrison then hits the man with a heavy script, and someone then hits Harrison on the head, knocking him out (and is then smashed with a metal table that molds to his body).
  • The press accidentally hit Harrison with their barrage of microphones.
  • A guard hits Harrison in the gut.
  • A prison bus crashes down a hill and onto some railroad tracks and an approaching train hits the bus.
  • Harrison breaks a window pane to get inside a house.
  • Falls' associates accidentally drop a manhole cover on his head.
  • Falls and his team knock down a door.
  • Harrison hits a cop over the head and knocks him out, and Cass knocks out a security officer, and later hits Harrison on the head with a bedpan.
  • A small model plane buzzes Harrison, and then crashes into a truck causing both to explode.
  • Cass and Sean aim guns at Harrison and she then shoots him several times (but they're blanks).
  • At a Scottish Days festival, we see two men sparring with swords, and one then punches the other and then stabs him (off screen).
  • The villains open fire on Harrison and others in a van with machine guns and rockets (which blows up several vehicles, and damages the van).
  • Falls and his team shoot at the villains' feet, causing them to do an Irish line dance.



  • Reviewed August 21, 1998

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