Movie Name: Police Academy
Studio: The Ladd Company
Release Date(s): March 23, 1984
MPAA Rating: R
The police academy has a whole new class of recruits, but if they are going to be in charge of protecting the people, the people are going to be in trouble. With Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg) just trying to get out of the academy and romancing Karen Thompson (Kim Cattrall) at the same time, Commandant Eric Lassard (George Gaynes) and his trainer Thaddeus Harris (G.W. Bailey) have got their hands full. In addition to Mahoney, they get the gun-nut Tackleberry (David Graf), the love maker George Martin (Andrew Rubin), tubby Leslie Barbara (Donovan Scott), the squeaky voiced Laverne Hooks (Marion Ramsey), the sound master Larvell Jones (Michael Winslow), and the intimidating Hightower (Bubba Smith). When a real crisis breaks out, the new cadets might be the city’s only hope!
Directed by Hugh Wilson, Police Academy was an adult comedy that started a franchise. The movie was a box office smash despite rather negative reviews from critics.
The ’80s was filled with sex-romp comedies. Police Academy was one of those films. It wasn’t quite up to Porky’s level, but it contained enough nudity and sex to titillate and provide laughs. It is a total goofy comedy, but I do enjoy it.
The movie is pretty basic in its plot and format. A rag-tag group of raw recruits are at the police academy and much like the Bad News Bears, they manage to come together to stop a criminal threat. The plot is rather incidental to the movie and basically a set-up for laughs…whether you laugh or not probably depends on your mood.
Steve Guttenberg was a force to be reckoned with in the ’80s…which is bizarre to think. He does have a lot of comedic timing with the writing, but he’s a very bland actor. Most of the actors involved with Police Academy and its sequels are character actors and over the top in their acting style. It works here mostly because I grew up on the series and seeing a number of Police Academy films it is less jarring.
The difference between this Police Academy film and following films is that it is rated R. This allowed nudity and much more adult jokes. It is pretty cheesy but it is an ’80s film…and looks it.
For a while it felt like the teen gross-out comedy had died in the ’80s, and movies like Police Academy and Revenge of the Nerds were gone. Movies like American Pie and Super Bad brought back this style of humor to some extent (sometimes with more focus on script), but they just don’t have the feel of an ’80s comedy. Police Academy is by no means art, but it is a fun flashback (and yes, this is the best one). Police Academy was followed by Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment in 1985.