Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach

July 18, 2011

Inertia rules the production of the Police Academy series—the inertia of constant motion, that is. These movies are scheduled to come out at spring break every year, and so they do; they might just keep going forever. Would anyone notice? Does anyone notice now?

The inertia dictates that a certain formula must be followed, regardless of the results. The results, for quite a few installments now, have been rigorously unfunny movies, but that’s not enough to deflect the awesome momentum of the series, which has made an obscene amount of money for producer Paul Maslansky. We’re up to number five (as though the numerical distinctions make any difference).

Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach wisely transports the troupe to a new locale. Other than that, everything is in place; almost every joke in the movie is a retread, with the slightest possible variation, of a gag from a previous film. As in the last couple of outings, the students of the first film—Bubba Smith, et al.—are simply a nondescript glob of people who surround the guest stars.

Steve Guttenberg is gone; his contract must’ve run out. Holding down the fort is George Gaynes, as the doddering commandant of the school, and in this installment he occupies center stage when he is kidnapped by some sharp-dressing Miami bad guys.

Also stepping to the forefront are non-regulars Matt McCoy, playing Gaynes’ almost-normal nephew, and Janet Jones, the luscious girl on the beach in The Flamingo Kid, who performs much the same function here.

As usual, most of the film’s energy is directed at the degradation of the hated lieutenant (G.W. Bailey). Also as usual, Bailey earns the film’s only near laughs, particularly when he adopts the guise of a swinger in a beachside bar.

Last year when PA4 came out, Rex Reed swore he would quit the business if another sequel were made. If he keeps his word, this would be the only positive thing to come out of the series in years. Well, Rex, we’re waiting. Rex?

First published in the Herald, March 1988

Rex Reed kept going, but you knew that. I don’t actually know how much money Paul Maslansky made, but I assume it was a great deal. Matt McCoy went on to have the career of a seemingly very good sport, in everything from his amusing role in L.A. Confidential to a corner of the Seinfeld universe. Janet Jones went on to marry Wayne Gretzky.