Police Academy 6: City Under Siege

February 21, 2011

If you want to see a smart-smart comedy, go see Chances Are. If you want to see a smart-stupid comedy, go see Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. And if you’re part of the population that must see a stupid-stupid comedy, go see Police Academy 6: City Under Siege.

It’s really stupid-stupid. The same old regulars return, still doing the tired shtick that has kept this series propped up in the face of logic and good taste. There’s a plot in here somewhere, about a criminal mastermind who wants to drive up real-estate prices. (Really.) The hunt for this evil genius involves the Police Academy crew, under the dotty leadership of their commander (George Gaynes, who must be piling up a nice little retirement nest egg in this role).

As always, the main brunt of the humor, such as it is, gets directed at the captain (G.W. Bailey). The movie proves that there are still new ways to humiliate a person, as Bailey is dangled from a skyscraper, spewed with ink, sent aloft by helium balloons, drenched with hot coffee. For Bailey, it must be a considerable actor’s challenge just to arrive on the set in the morning.

The other regulars go through their paces, which add up to precious little. (Bubba Smith, who is top-billed, has perhaps 10 lines of dialogue.) Comic Michael Winslow does an amusing imitation of Jimi Hendrix, and also revives his kung fu character, whose English phrases don’t quite match the movements of his lips.

Kenneth Mars, a former Mel Brooks regular, plays the mayor. He puts a goofy zip into his role as a very absent minded bureaucrat: “My hands are…uh…oh, the thing with the rope…tied!”

The director this time is Peter Bonerz, who is better known as the dentist on the old “Bob Newhart Show.” Bonerz displays some inclination toward mounting a few visual jokes, but these efforts are practically irrelevant in this setting. This movie’s just marking time, and everybody seems to know it.

First published in the Herald, March 16, 1989

Surely a reminder that Kenneth Mars was in Police Academy 6 is a poor tribute, but this funny actor, immortal in The Producers and Young Frankenstein, died last week, so there you have it. At least he had a couple of moments in this one. At this point in the dismal progression of the PA pictures, Steve Guttenberg had decamped the series, and so regulars David Graf and G.W. Bailey tried to get something going—that is, if you care about these things.