If "Airplane!" was the movie that proved how funny "Forbidden Planet" star Leslie Nielsen can be (and he can be a riot with the right material), "Naked Gun" was the movie that cemented his reputation in this regard, for better or worse.
Nielsen plays Lt. Frank Drebbin, a seemingly incompetent cop who manages to nonetheless to get the job done. In the beginning of the movie, he busts a meeting filled with "evil" world leaders including Idi Amin, the Ayatollah Khomeini, and Gorbachev ("I knew it!" Drebbin yells as he rubs off the mark on Gorbachev's forehead). But when he suspects that a shady character named Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban from "Fantasy Island") is plotting to kill Queen Elizabeth, nobody except his captain, Ed Hocken (played by another serious actor who shows a great ability with comedy, George Kennedy) is willing to take him seriously. His retractors include the mayor (played by Nancy Marchand, later of "The Sopranos"), who after a series of pratfalls that make Drebbin look like an idiot (it's not hard) takes his badge. But Drebbin is determined to prove his case, even if it means posing as opera star Enrico Pullazo and an umpire to do it, and prevent the assassination of the queen.
There's a love story between Drebbin and Jane Spencer, played by Priscilla Presley, who is also not ready to accept that her boss Ludwig is a murderer, and O.J. Simpson provides support (and some of the funniest scenes in the movie) as the hapless Det. Nordberg, who can't seem to avoid getting hurt time and time again. Admit it, it's a hoot watching these scenes now and imagining that the real O.J. is the one nearly being killed.
The movie was made by Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker, the team also responsible for "Airplane!", and is based on the cult classic TV show (cancelled before its time because, of course, it was too much for the dumb TV audiences to be able to follow) "Police Squad!" I think it can be easily argued that it's because of the material provided by these geniuses that Nielsen is so funny; God knows he can't be in anything not created by them. But let's give Leslie Nielsen some credit; NOBODY does deadpan like him. And he gets strong support from the rest of the cast. There are some hilarious one-liners and sight gags here; one of my favorites is the final scene with Nordberg ("Oh Frank! Everybody should have a friend like you!"). Also notable are the cameos throughout, including "Weird Al" Yankovic, Reggie Jackson, Dick Vitale, Dick Enberg, Dr. Joyce Brothers (as a baseball announcer!), and best of all John Houseman in his final screen appearance, playing a driving instructor in a car Drebbin has to take control of for a chase; the poor teenage girl is still driving, and Houseman is calmly directing her on how to do it, as they speed down the highway. This is classic stuff, and even though its not a serious role, I'm glad he had something so memorable for his last movie.
"Naked Gun" is as consistently funny as "Airplane!" and is still one of the funniest movies ever, and gave further proof that the Zuckers are one of the greatest spoofmakers of all time.
Jane - I wanted you to know, now, I've loved you since the first day I met you, and I'll never stop. I'm a very lucky woman.
Frank - So am I