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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 34.29%
Average: 14.29%
Pretty Bad: 5.71%
Total Crap: 5.71%

1 review, 29 user ratings

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Police Academy
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Jack Sommersby

"A Comedy Classic Worth Cheering"
4 stars

Please don't pre-judge this movie just because of the bad reviews of its unnecesary sequels.

Hugh Wilson's uproarious Police Academy is one of those comedies that's so broadly played that you're either on its cinematic boat or off it from practically the word go, with those electing to stay with it all but guaranteed a really great time. And the story has a great set-up that's actually followed through upon, which certainly can't be said for more movies of this genre. The new progressive female mayor of St. Louis has loosened the standards of the police academy's recruitment process so one can't be discriminated against by gender or creed; not surprisingly, the amount of recruitments, ranging from the chubby to the Mohawk-haired to the female persuasion, have been applying in droves, with the city's police chief anything but pleased -- he orders his subordinates to weed out the undesirables. And what a lot they are! There's ramped-up, trigger-happy security guard Tackleberry (David Graf) who possesses more guns than brain cells; professional florist Hightower (Bubba Smith) who's the size of a giant and has the heart of a saint; Hooks (Marion Ramsey), who has an ultra-weak voice and is the very definition of timidity; Thompson (Kim Cattrall), a spoiled but bored rich girl looking for some excitement; Martin (Andrew Rubin), a playboy with a fake Hispanic accent that helps attract the women; Jones (Michael Winslow), a human sound-effects machine; and Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg), a classic screw-up who's blackmailed into applying by a cop friend of his late father who wants see him straighten out. And the cops on the other side of the fence aren't slouches themselves. Commandant Lassard (George Gaynes) is as senile-seeming as you can get without being senile; Sgt. Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook) is the steely blonde instructor with the kind of boisterous bust that boys go through puberty for; and Lieutenant Harris (G.W. Bailey) is ultimate martinet who's high opinion of himself is only rivaled by his low opinion of everyone else. What makes the movie so much fun is that there aren't any heroes and villains, really -- they're all endearingly kooky in one way or another, which, of course, makes them a lot more identifiable and human. Nobody's judged, and what the movie is finally about is the necessity of embracing eccentricity -- without it, the world would definitely be one listless, boring place.

Like the marvelous Naked Gun series, the jokes come fast and furious, and even if one doesn't come off there are about three more that do, which isn't a bad percentage at all. Whether it's Lassard getting an unexpected blowjob from a hooker hidden inside a podium while he's giving a speech and mistakenly thinking it was Mahoney, the two cadet snitches of Harris's getting lured into a leather-clad gay bar, Jones mimicking gunshot sounds inside the police station where he's under arrest, gun-nut Tackleberry's dismayed look upon being handed a cadet revolver with a small barrel, the movie puts a smile on your face and never turns crass by relegating itself to bottom-basement bathroom humor. Wilson, who both directed and co-wrote, isn't particularly inventive, but he knows how to approach a gag and keep the proceedings hopping around with both color and bounce. It's not high art, don't get me wrong, but it's awfully competent and assured for what it is -- even that shopworn cliche of spying on women in the shower is funny, and not necessarily due to the climax of it but by the first shot of the next scene relating to it. And aiding quite helpfully in the fun is Guttenberg's immensely appealing performance in the lead. He's vivid yet wisely underplays; in essence, his Mahoney is the most sane-minded of the characters -- he employs his goofiness when the dullness of everyday life threatens to get the better of him. In lesser hands, a foolish actor would be fatally extroverted in the role; with the skillful Guttenberg, he let's us see that humor is simply what keeps Mahoney whole -- working a regular nine-to-five job in an office would be as detrimental to his mental health as Kryptonite would be to Superman's physical health. And he's completely unselfish: he never tries to one-up any of the broader characterizations in a shared scene, which is indicative of both good taste and confidence in his ability as an actor. And Bailey makes for the perfect foil as the dastardly Harris. His is both a physical and verbal performance: he's amusingly ramrod straight and aurally varied -- rather than one-dimensionally shouting throughout he varies his tone and inflections; Harris is all too proud with the sound of his own voice, and Bailey lets you see just how lip-smackingly pleased Harris in fact is of it. While the movie has more in the way of scenes than sequences, which means there's not a whole lot that's complexly built, it's disarmingly pleasing enough so you can more than respect it in the morning.

The special-edition DVD boasts a nice transfer and good extras. Well worth a purchase.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 11/03/10 13:24:49
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User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell dated & lame 4 dullards only 1 stars
4/13/16 Katrina Weiss Has it's funny moments. 4 stars
2/26/14 Noah Antwiler John Markham, Charles Tatum, and Paul Shortt can all go fuck themselves, this movie rocks! 5 stars
7/21/12 Sean Harrison Classic comedy that gets less funny with time. 3 stars
6/01/12 The Big D An interesting idea for a plot--Tacklebury meets Miss Devonshire from Vice Academy! 3 stars
5/30/12 The Big D David Graf was funny; the rest of it wasn't too good. 3 stars
9/27/11 Andrew It's still very funny even today. It's amazing how well it holds up after 20 years 5 stars
1/24/11 bill norris the 1st always the best, made me nearly pee myself as a kid watchin this the 1st time 5 stars
11/08/10 Dorothy Rozdilsky makes you laugh and in this day, we all need a good one 5 stars
9/08/05 bac VERY FUNNY! 4 stars
3/24/05 Jeff Anderson One funny movie, take it or leave it! Bailey, Graf & Winslow are PITCH PERFECTLY HILARIOUS! 5 stars
9/03/04 Sugarfoot Hilarious comedy, why oh why did they make sequels?! 4 stars
6/05/04 John mildly entertaining 3 stars
10/30/03 Moparman Funny movie. Good for many laughs! 5 stars
8/08/03 3man Funny as hell 5 stars
8/05/03 P.Rodriguez Excellent 5 stars
1/01/03 Jack Sommersby One of the best comedies ever. Refreshingly bawdy. Perfectly cast. 5 stars
10/29/02 Charles Tatum Guilty of possessing no laughs in the first degree 2 stars
10/22/01 P.Rodriguez Ha this movie rocks. 5 stars
9/03/01 Butterbean The first movie is always the best. 5 stars
8/08/01 Mr. Hat Very funny. Michael Winslow is the funniest person. 4 stars
6/07/01 James Holbrook this film is so GODDAMN cool! 5 stars
6/03/01 Mr. T DAMN THIS MOVIE IS KOOL! 5 stars
3/30/01 Andrew Carden I don't like Guttenburg, but he did decent. 3 stars
2/15/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) The most sexist film ever made, but funny enough at face value. 4 stars
1/16/01 Sklorsh Funniest in the series. Definitely worth seeing. 4 stars
8/23/00 zall I'm giving it 5 stars 5 stars
1/09/00 John Markham Unfunny 80's "comedy", don't have anything to do with it. 1 stars
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  02-Apr-1984 (R)
  DVD: 06-Apr-2004



Directed by
  Hugh Wilson

Written by
  Hugh Wilson
  Neal Israel
  Pat Proft

  Steve Guttenberg
  G.W. Bailey
  Kim Cattrall
  Bubba Smith
  David Graf
  Michael Winslow

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