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Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach
1988 - PG - 90 Mins.
Director: Alan Myserson
Starring: Bubba Smith, Michael Winslow, David Graf, George Gaynes, Marion Ramsey
Review by: John Ulmer
There is slapstick, and then there is *slapstick*. "Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach" falls into the latter category. This is slapstick worse than the likes of "Mr. Magoo." This is slapstick antics taken to a whole new level -- a level of utter chaotic mess. The Three Stooges would blush at this. But at least the Stooges were funny. The bumbling cops of "Police Academy" are, very unfortunately, not.

Steve Guttenberg has, by this time, finally come to the over-due conclusion that the series is going nowhere, and so he has left the ongoing string of sequels to enter into fresher territory -- by appearing not very many years later in joyless remakes of older films ("It Takes Two," a.k.a. "The Parent Trap 4"), and recycled underdog stories ("The Big Green"). When is your big break gonna come, Steve? Oh, wait, it did, and it was your first film ("Diner), and you blew it by appearing in this schmaltz.

The rest of the inept "cops" from the first four (*gulp*) films have returned here to wreak havoc on all that remains unspoofed by the series. Finally realizing that the police officer's daily routine gags are no longer fair ground for comedy, the filmmakers have moved the series to Miami Beach, land of ample spoofing and lampooning! Er, not for these guys. As the police of the film can never seem to do anything right, the series itself can never seem to be funny.

The plot involves Commandant Lassard (George Gaynes) being called to Miami to receive a special lifetime achievment award of some sort (the biggest plot hole being, of course, that he does not deserve it at all after the many disasters instilled by him in the predecessors. Would you give a major award to a man incapable of holding onto his luggage? I don't think so.)

And so Commandant Lassard does, of course, lose his luggage in the airport. (The awful joke I wrote above comes into play, here!) But instead of just losing his luggage at the airport, he accidentally picks up a similar briefcase belonging to a band of jewel thieves -- and they're pretty eager on getting their stash of diamonds returned to them.

Commandant Lassard is kidnapped and the doofus cops from the previous entries (save Guttenberg's Carey Mahoney and Bobcat Goldthwait's missing Zed) embark on a mission to save him. This mission comes to an embarrassingly unfunny and ridiculous climax involving alligator puppets and a fat man. Don't ask.

"Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach" proves that everything is ample ground for comedy -- Florida, jewel thieves, fat men, and alligators. But who cares? What is the point? The fact that anything and everything is open to spoofing has been established before by other rude (and so much better) comedies like "Animal House." (Or any National Lampoon film, for that matter.) I've seen funnier documentaries than this mess. I admit I laughed once -- once, mind you -- but not really at anything I was supposed to laugh at. I laughed at the sheer stupidity of one or two things, and not simply because they were funny, but because they were supposed to be funny, and they weren't -- at all. And I laughed at George Gaynes in one scene. There, I said it. But that does not reserve my harsh rating on the film.

Is there any hesitation to say "no" to endless sequels in Hollywood anymore? Is the thought of quality ever measured over quantity anymore? Obviously not. If anything, the entire "Police Academy" series just stands as a landmark reminder that Hollywood has been taken over by ruthless film executives who want nothing but money.

As for the "Police Academy" films themselves? It was Forrest Gump who once said, "Stupid is as stupid does." Ain't that the truth.
Movie Guru Rating
Unwatchable.  One of the worst of the year.  Skip it.
  0.5 out of 5 stars

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