“Four of you have already quit — and that’s just the beginning.”
When a mayor announces her city will be accepting police candidates of all types, a group of misfits — including a troublemaker (Steve Guttenberg), a one-man noise-making machine (Michael Winslow), an attractive socialite (Kim Cattral), a former florist (Bubba Smith), and a squeaky-voiced woman (Marion Ramsey) — attend a training academy run by a crusty commandant (George Gaynes) and an irritable lieutenant (G.W. Bailey) determined to make the recruits’ lives miserable.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Peary writes that back in 1984 (shortly before the publication of GFTFF), this “undistinguished, unimaginative comedy became a surprise commercial blockbuster, forcing highbrow critics to lament about the nature of today’s movie audience” — surely a complaint that resonates equally well in 2019. Peary adds that this is “yet another film in the Animal House and Stripes tradition, with a group of incorrigible, klutzy misfits entering a conservative institution” and ultimately deciding “they really want to become policemen after all”. He notes that “the reason for the picture’s popularity has been a mystery, because it hasn’t much sexual content or inspired lunacy” — but he asserts that he thinks “it’s partly because it’s the one film in which the institution doesn’t really alter the rebellious characters it eventually welcomes into its ranks; it doesn’t contend that if someone trains to be a policeman he’ll become a better person, or that disciplined people are the types of citizens we want.” Still, he laments that this remains a “ridiculously tame film” with “some laughs, but the humor isn’t allowed to build toward a funny climax”. Peary’s complaints all ring true; this erstwhile box-office favorite (with numerous sequels to its name) doesn’t offer much of interest to viewers other than those who recall it fondly from their youth.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Michael Winslow’s amusing “sound machine”
No; this one is only for cult ’80s movie lovers or those curious to see what the fuss was all about.