Roger M. Wilcox's review of

Wrongfully Accused

(First posted to Bad Movie Night in 2001 or so.)

I swore when I saw Mafia! that I would never, ever put myself through another Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker worn-out Airplane!-esque slapstick-fest again.

I should never have broken that promise.

In Wrongfully Accused, Leslie Nielsen stars as the only actor that director Abrahams can convince to play in his movies any more. Well, okay, he actually stars as a bungling-yet-virtuoso concert violinist. Not that his bungling is funny anymore, mind you. Anyway, one of his male friends has an estranged wife who's hot for some Leslie Nielsen lovin', so she makes up some phony excuse to get Nielsen alone in her house. Only she's not alone, because her husband's recently-killed corpse is draped across some of her furniture and the killer is still in the house. The killer, a one-armed one-legged one-eyed man, sneaks up on Nielsen and they slap each other silly, resulting in several instances of smashed testicles — guaranteed to get a laugh from the same folks in the audience who guffaw at fart jokes. Nielsen is knocked unconscious, the mysterious one-armed one-legged one-eyed one-joke man leaves him in the house, and when he comes to in the morning in the same house as the husband's corpse, the police figure Nielsen must've murdered the guy, and thus he becomes ... (dramatic pause) ... Wrongfully Accused™.

By now, you've probably figured out that this is supposed to be a parody of The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford. Unfortunately, Harrison Ford makes for far better comedy than Leslie Nielsen. They parody about half the scenes in The Fugitive, including the oh-my-God-a-train's-coming-and-I'm-stuck-on-the-tracks scene, the manhunt-director-who-can-guess-where-you'd-go-next-by-the-color-of-your-shoes scene, and the jumping-several-hundred-feet-out-of-a-sluice-gate-in-a-dam-to-the-raging-waters-below scene, the latter of which features a rubber dummy being thrown from a dam that would look EXACTLY like Leslie Nielsen if Leslie Nielsen were an inflatable sex doll. In typical Abrahams fashion, they wrap up the story by revealing that everybody is the brother or sister of everybody else. Hilarity ensues.

Not only is this film every bit as tired as Mafia!, Hot Shots! Part Deux, and Naked Gun 33-1/3, it had the bad fortune to come out several years after The Fugitive had all but faded from the public's memory. Hopefully, its inevitable flop will convince Jim Abrahams that maybe, just maybe, he's milked this subgenre to death. Then again, there's always one or two people in the audience that have never seen Airplane! and think that stuff like this is the most original comedy they've seen in years, so maybe we won't be so lucky.

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