Deconstructing THE FUGITIVE
Release Date: August 21, 1998
Genre: Comedy spoof
Audience: Teenagers & young adults
Runtime: 89 minutes
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Director: Pat Proft
Writer: Pat Proft
Address Comments To:
Please address your comments to:
Robert A. Daly
Warner Bros., Inc.
4000 Warner Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
(Pa, L, V, S, N, A, D, M) Pagan worldview spoofing suspense films; 7 obscenities & one exclamatory profanity; mild slapstick action violence including pratfalls, vandalism, implied impaling, man hit in crotch, shooting, explosions, assault with a microphone, falling, man hit in face, & implied ear cut off; mild sexual humor including images of struggling men in sexual positions, implied adultery & implied fornication; upper male nudity & woman in underwear; alcohol use; smoking; and, lying.
WRONGFULLY ACCUSED is an attempted laugh-a-minute comedy that primarily spoofs THE FUGITIVE, but also jabs at MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, BRAVEHEART, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, and Humphrey Bogart movies. With a dumb plot and many failed jokes, this PG-13 comedy isn't as offensive as some strong R comedies this summer, but does have some sexual humor and slapstick violence.
WRONGFULLY ACCUSED is the movie that finally answers the age-old question, "How would a world-renowned violinist prove his innocence after being vamped by a gorgeous woman who, along with a one-armed, one-legged, one-eyed terrorist, frames the violinist for the murder of her husband and is also involved in a plot to assassinate the UN Secretary General?" Pairing NAKED GUN creator Pat Proft with star Leslie Nielsen, this attempted laugh-a-minute comedy primarily spoofs THE FUGITIVE, but also jabs at MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, THE USUAL SUSPECTS, BRAVEHEART, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, Humphrey Bogart movies, and more.
Played by Leslie Nielsen, superstar violinist Ryan Harrison (the name a mixture of Tom Clancy hero Jack Ryan and Harrison Ford, the actor who has been playing Ryan) is at the very height of his career as the Lord of the Violin. He is vamped into a brief but hot affair with wealthy society lady and temptress Lauren Goodhue (Kelly Le Brock), who sets him up as the patsy in her plot to kill her husband, portable potty tycoon Hibbing Goodhue (Michael York). Hibbing has uncovered her plan to assassinate the UN Secretary General and so must be killed himself.
A one-armed, one-legged, one-eyed man kills Hibbing, but the rap is pinned on hapless Harrison who is arrested, jailed and, hence, wrongfully accused. Escaping from prison via a bus wreck and a train wreck, he eludes U.S. Marshal Fergus Falls (Richard Crenna in a fine Tommy Lee Jones impersonation). Harrison must find a way to survive incredible obstacles, solve a murder, fall in love with the beautiful but mysterious Cass Lake (Melinda McGraw), and prove his innocence.
This movie follows in the same tradition of the AIRPLANE movies and the NAKED GUN series. It teeters on offensiveness with sexual humor, but seldom crosses the line in as blatant a manner as this summer's harder fare, BASEKETBALL and THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. Wrestling men appear to be in sexual positions, and a woman smokes a cigar suggestively, but there are no body fluids or sex acts. The jokes seem funnier during the first half-hour, and then become tedious as the movie wears on.
The most fun of WRONGFULLY ACCUSED is spotting the film references. Acting down the line is serviceable and includes the standard B-level stars including Kelly Le Brock and the passe Michael York. Basically this comedy is rightfully accused of failing jokes and a dumb plot. Though not as offensive as some modern comedies, it proves its unworthiness in other ways. Perhaps only acceptable as a mild diversion, it shows further evidence that this genre is in need of a major overhaul, or possibly even put to rest.