Film review: Wrongfully Accused

Published: Monday, Aug. 24 1998 4:15 p.m. MDT

Certain things make you wax nostalgic for the '80s, such as New Wave music and Leslie Nielsen.

Yes, you read right — Leslie Nielsen. After all, that decade was the last time he made a really funny movie (the first of the three "Naked Gun" films). That hasn't stopped him from appearing in movies since then, though, and the unfortunate results are usually something along the lines of "Wrongfully Accused."

Oh, there have been worse films with Nielsen in them (think "Spy Hard!" or "Mr. Magoo"), but this nearly laughless parody of "The Fugitive" does its darnedest to top them with nonstop sexual humor and stupid sight gags.

If that's not enough, Nielsen practically sleepwalks through his performances as Ryan Harrison, a popular musician accused of killing millionaire Hibbing Goodhue (Michael York).

Sentenced to die for the crime, Ryan escapes when the prison transport bus crashes. On the run with mysterious beauty Cass Lake (Melinda McGraw), he becomes the subject of a nationwide manhunt, with FBI agent Fergus Falls (Richard Crenna) in hot pursuit.

And the only chance to clear himself is to find the only witness, a one-armed, one-legged, one-eyed man (Aaron Pearl) who appears to be in cahoots with the victim's widow (Kelly Le Brock).

To give you an idea of writer-director Pat Proft's level of humor, many scenes feature Nielsen hitting his head on objects, such as girders and tunnel entrances. But those bits are positively inspired compared to the unfunny film parodies (including "Mission: Impossible" and "Titanic") and countless references to O.J. Simpson (who appeared with Nielsen in the "Naked Gun" movies).

Actually, the only person who fares well here is York, and that's because his character is killed off just minutes into the picture.

"Wrongfully Accused" is rated PG-13 for vulgar sex jokes and some sexually suggestive gags, slapstick violence, profanity and simulated sex (done for"comedic" purposes, of course).